First Look: Lexmark Genesis

Lexmark has unveiled the Lexmark Genesis printer, a new all-in-one printer that hides a digital camera within; letting you scan documents and photos in just 3 seconds. But can the new printer impress? Pocket-lint was invited to the New York City launch event to find out.

At first glance, the Lexmark Genesis looks quite standard. It’s a big black box that would fit in perfectly in any home office. However, on closer inspection there’s some interesting features that make this printer more than just a regular printer. This is a social sharing machine with the added bonus of printing great quality photos. 

If we could only tell you about one feature from the outside it would have to be the 4.3-inch web-connected touchscreen, which is what really makes this printer stand out. Following hot on the heals of HP, the Lexmark printer is web-connected, with the touchscreen letting you share anything you scan like PDFs and pictures, as well as view images directly from Facebook and Flickr; you can even choose to print whichever ones you like. It also runs apps like Stamps.com, Evernote, Photobucket, and Tripitit.

You can keep track of web news or weather on the preview screen, in case you need one more reason to get distracted during the work day.

The ultimate cool factor for this printer are the Twitter and Facebook SmartSolution apps.That means you can scroll through your Twitter feed and navigate Facebook and even print pictures from your friend's albums all from the preview screen! The Twitter app is available now and the Facebook app should be available next month. This printer is literally a sharing, printing, copy, fax, web machine. 

Okay, so say you want to scan some old incriminating photos from high school to share with your friends. You open the top of the printer and there’s a vertical glass scanning tray. You can scan multiple photos at once because the glass tray features little hooks that will hold your photos in place.

Now comes the cool part. This printer features what Lexmark calls Flash Scan technology. Instead of the 2-minute long back and forth scanning method, the Genesis takes a picture of your pictures with its 10-megapixel imaging sensor.

This is great because it cuts down on the time it takes to scan the image, and when scanning books you won’t get that big black line where the binding is, it will just be a great image of the text you want. Scanning took literally 2 seconds (a second faster than promised in the blurb), and then we saw the images previewed on both the front of the printer in the preview box and on your attached computer. Oh, and it didn’t make that horrible scanning and printing noise either.

The moment after the pictures scanned into the printer, they appeared on the connected computer in 300dpi. A feature that really stood out was the printer’s ability to recognise the different pictures that were scanned. It didn’t show us an image on the computer of three images in one that we would have to later crop. It literally recognised the border of each picture.

The Lexmark rep explained that this feature wasn’t always perfect, for example, sometimes if there is not enough room between photos, the printer may get confused. But hey, it’s okay, we forgive you Genesis. 

Another feature we really liked was the ability to view and print pictures directly from a SD card or USB flash drive. No more are the days when you have to upload pictures onto your PC and then send them over to your printer to print. You can literally do all of this from the printer itself. We plugged in a SD card (and hoped for no risque photos) and there it was; the whole album up on the preview screen. We chose what looked like a great sunset picture, but unfortunately this particular picture was taken through a dirty window so the printed image came out looking quite dirty; we’d say the printer did too good of a job in capturing the photos details in 4800 x 1200 dpi, dirty window and all.  

When sending images to your computer, you can connect your computer via USB or using 802.11n Wi-Fi, and yes, it works with both PC and Mac. It also works with the iPad or iPhone, which made sending documents like PDFs to the printer really easy and fast.

Lexmark confirmed that they are working on printing applications for printing from RIM devices like the BlackBerry Playbook and Android devices.

The printer itself costs around $400 in the US, but we really appreciate the fact that the ink refills this printer takes cost around $19.99, so it won’t break the bank if you get a little photo-printing happy.

Verdict

Overall, we’re very impressed with this printing, faxing, copying, sharing, and web enabled machine.

The Lexmark Genesis is definitely a printer that takes printing beyond its standard definition and redefines it to make sense in the modern business world; a world where sharing, speed, and accuracy is key.

While our play was brief what we saw certainly makes this a contender, and one that we are looking forward to getting in for a full review in a home environment rather than a launch event in NYC. 

The Lexmark Genesis is expected to be on sale later this "Fall".