Lexmark Genesis S815 review

Full review: Multifunction printer with Facebook and Twitter apps

Image 1 of 3 Lexmark Genesis open
Lexmark Genesis open
Image 2 of 3 Lexmark Genesis
Lexmark Genesis
Image 3 of 3 Lexmark Genesis screen
Lexmark Genesis screen

Lexmark's innovative multifunction printer is more than just a gimmick

Lexmark’s new Genesis S815 multifunction printer, scanner, fax and photocopier offers several unique features. Instead of a traditional flatbed scanner, the Genesis uses Lexmark’s Flash Scan technology, with the image photographed by a 10-megapixel imaging sensor. No warm-up time is needed, and the entire recordable area is captured in just three seconds.

To save space on your desk, the traditional form factor gives way to a more upright design. The ‘scanner’ is almost vertical, with a set of clips at the top of the glass and a small shelf at the bottom to keep your documents in place.

Each time you use the scanner you have to capture the whole of the available area, but images can be cropped on your computer afterwards.

Lexmark Genesis S815: Apps

The Lexmark Genesis’ key innovation is the 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen, which does far more than give access to the device’s functions. After connecting the Genesis to your wireless network (it offers USB and WiFi ‘N’ connectivity), you can download and install mini-applications known as SmartSolutions. There are apps to view, scan to and print from MobileMe, Flickr and Picassa.

If you need graph paper or music manuscripts, downloadable applications let you print it and you can get news and sports feeds from Apple, ESPN and the BBC. You can even access your Facebook and Twitter accounts, printing from Facebook albums without going through your computer. Over 60 apps are already available, and more are being created all the time, by Lexmark and third-party developers.

Unfortunately, the Genesis’ innovation comes with a few compromises. There’s only one paper source, a vertically-orientated 100-sheet feeder. If you want to print on letterheads or photo paper, you have to remove your standard printer paper first. The image capture feature has no automatic document feeder. If you’ve a pile of papers or pictures to scan, you have to open the lid and change them by hand, rendering its super-speedy three-second capture time almost moot. It’s limited to a 300dpi resolution too, which is enough for most casual users, but nowhere near what you’d get from a more traditional scanner.

Lexmartk Genesis S815: Print quality

On the whole, print quality is very good, with dark, crisp text that remains readable even at low point sizes, and very commendable photo printing. Print speeds are about average for a home printer. But even given the quality, at not much less than £400 the Genesis S815 is too expensive. Ink tanks are quite costly compared to Lexmark’s competitors too.

The Lexmark Genesis S815 offers exciting and useful innovations, depending on how you use your multifunction printer, perhaps not for everyone, but we have to applaud Lexmark's innovation. It's certainly expensive, but you can’t help but love it.

Lexmark Genesis S815 price: £365-£420 online, link Lexmark