Lexmark Genesis S815 review

3.5 out of 5
£399

For

Excellent print quality, useful online resources, impressive touchscreen, super-fast scans

Against

Very slow print speeds, expensive

It’s not often you see something a bit different in the printer/AIO market but Lexmark has produced a device that should turn a few heads in the Genesis S815. Most immediately striking are the aesthetics, since it utilises an innovative vertical design finished with a sleek piano-black front panel that also houses a 4.5-inch colour touchscreen.

Lexmark isn’t going all “super-model” on us and focusing the appeal of the S815 solely around looks however, as it boasts a “world’s first” technology called Flash Scan, which can allegedly scan images in 3 seconds, as well as instantly previewing the page on the main display for adjustment. You’ll also find more typical conveniences such as wireless printing, a PictBridge USB port, multicard reader, duplex mode and more current advancements in the form of access to online content via the touchscreen display.

All of this sounds very good, but ticking the boxes in terms of key performance is obviously a must. Sadly it doesn’t cover all its bases here, as we found print speeds to be far, far slower than the 33ppm quoted draft setting. In our tests we found 8ppm to be more accurate; a significant drop, and at regular setting the quoted 18ppm was more realistically narrowed down to 5ppm. Similarly printing full colour photos takes longer than we’d expect at over 3 minutes for a borderless A4 print and over a minute for a 7 x 5-inch.

Thankfully this slow speed is made up for somewhat by some excellent quality results. Photos in particular looked stunning from the S815, with accurate colours, distinctive contrast and sharp lines. Text was also crisp and clean with no bleed or banding even at draft setting, so if professional quality results are your aim, this device can certainly deliver.

It was also pleasing to see that the flash scan technology wasn’t as overstated as the print speeds. When a page is loaded into the device it is instantly “snapped” and displayed on the colour screen, with some basic photo editing options available to customise the image before scanning. It did indeed take just 3 seconds for an image to be rendered and a save dialog pop-up on our computer. Scan quality isn’t top-notch however, and we noticed a distinct grain over images that puts its ultimate performance in this area below similar mid-range devices, despite the outstanding speeds.

The final benefit on offer from the S815 is access to online content via the device’s SmartSolutions widgets. These are effectively a collection of resources that can be included in a customisable list of shortcuts and accessed directly via the printer. These are sorted into a range of categories and include benefits such as printable calendars, sheet music, graph paper and other forms and templates, informational resources such as weather, RSS feeds and clocks and various others to help improve productivity. This all worked very well in our tests, and confirmed our conclusion that unlike some other rival devices the touchscreen is nicely responsive, colourful and easy to use for both access to SmartSolutions and general operation of the device.

When you consider the print speeds alongside a relatively meagre 100-sheet A4 tray the S815 seems clearly oriented towards the home market rather than business use. Nothing wrong with that, but even despite the excellent output quality and range of additional benefits this is still a lot to pay for what is effectively a mid-range all-in-one. If print speeds had been up to scratch it would have been easier to justify the outlay, but as it stands this is a hefty investment considering the alternatives available.

Verdict

The Genesis S815 is a great looking device capable of some excellent quality output, a super-fast scan feature that actually works and additional benefits in the online content available. £400-ish is still a lot to pay though, and since it loses points in some key areas we think it’ll struggle to really take off.