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(Pocket-lint) - Coming in for a well-deserved silver medal, behind Lexmark’s new top of the range P6350, the 4350 all-in-one photo printer, scanner and copier takes some beating when it comes to the price-functionality ratio.

Launched in June 2005, the P4350 offers a complete print and copy solution to the small office environment and operates equally well with or without a computer connected. The printing relies on a duel cartridge Inkjet system. Inserting these cartridges has been made easier by simply lifting the printer apart, reminiscent of popping the bonnet on a car and then placing the cartridges in the allocated slots. Various combinations of cartridges are available, depending on the type of printing that’s being done, and cost around £15 each. An extra space has even been provided, on the inside left of the printer, to store spare cartridges while not in use.

Photo printing functions, without a computer attached, operate from either direct connection of a PictBridge compatible camera, via a USB cable, or by placing the camera’s memory card into the ports, located under a protective flap on the right of the control panel. MicroDrive, Compact Flash, Memory stick, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Cards and xD are all catered for.

With a card or camera attached the content of the memory can be viewed on the printer itself, via the 1.7in colour screen. Simple to follow instruction will then let the user select the picture or pictures they wish to print, rotate, crop or resize them and even alter the brightness, to suit particular images. The print rate, in full colour, is around 15 pages per minute, although this will depend of the size and quality of the image, going up to 22 PPM for black and white.

Switching the 4350 from printer mode to copier and scanner is done by pressing the illuminated function button on the front display panel. The scanner offers a maximum resolution of 1200dpi and has an A4 flatbed-style imaging area. Both functions are ostensibly the same with one output being directly printed on completion of the scan, and the other being saved as either a TIFF or JPEG. A mention should given the to the integrated OCR text scanning features that the scanner’s menu offers. Pages of text and graphics can be scanned and then the associated text content is passed to FineReader 5 (supplied with the Lexmark software) to be recognised and reproduced in a text file to be edited or included in another document.

The dedicated Lexmark software supplied on the installation CD-ROM is meant to include, The Lexmark imaging Studio (Windows only), The All-in-one centre (Windows only), Print Properties - (Windows only), The Lexmark 4300 Series Solution Centre - Mac & PC, The Lexmark Photo Editor (On Mac called Touch Up Tools), The Lexmark Fast Pics (Windows Only). But a lot of these features are Windows only and simply don’t appear when installing the accompanying software on a Mac. Macs can operate the 4350 perfectly well but some advanced options and associated imaging tools are always useful and the instruction manual should break down which programs will and won’t work with the non-Windows OS.

The other gripe is streaking in the black shades when printing photos. This will no doubt be a dirty ink cartridge, that can either be cleaned or replaced, but nevertheless it’s still a pain and made worse by the instruction manual being less than precise on how to rectify these type of problems.

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Overall, a near perfect solution in the home office environment. The 4350 covers a lot of ground and will provide ideal solution if you need to print, scan and copy regularly without wishing to purchase dedicated equipment to perform each task separately. The saving on space made by a single device in reflected in an overall cost saving. The computer free printing options also make this an ideal solution for digital photographers who want hard copies of their images quickly without the need of booting up a PC, and who aren't fussed in the chase for the perfect monochrome shades.

Writing by Charlie Brewer. Originally published on 13 September 2005.