Setting up the Genesis
The Lexmark Genesis comes with a paperboard insert instructing users to unpack the printer and then insert the provided CD before taking any other steps.
The Welcome screen will popup asking you to install the drivers and software and then will check for software updates (if the computer is connected to the internet).
After the software updates (there were none at the time of our review), the printer will ask if you’d like step-by-step instructions. If you choose yes, the wizard will take users through loading the paper, extending the output tray, setting up date and time info, setting up language and country, installing the ink cartridges and printing an alignment page.
After getting the printer setup, the wizard will ask how you’d like to connect the Genesis: via a wireless connection or a USB connection. We chose the wireless connection; and since we didn’t have a router with WPS, we had to connect the Genesis with the provided installation cable (aka, a USB cable) to our computer. The wizard then brings up a list of possible wireless networks; choose the appropriate one and enter password (if applicable). Once the wireless connection is complete, you’ll be directed to remove the installation cable.
After the printer is ready to go, the wizard will ask if you’d like to set up the ‘advanced features’ including the E-mail setup and fax machine.
Ease of use
The Lexmark Genesis’ big appeal seems to be the new Flash Scan Technology, which “boasts a 10 megapixel imaging sensor for an Instant Preview of scanned document on the 4.3-inch color touchscreen and enables the all-in-one to convert a document to digital in as few as 3 seconds” according to the Lexmark website.
The Flash Scan Technology doesn’t quite live up to all the hype but it’s certainly a giant leap forward for scanners included on all-in-one printing devices. I saw almost instanteous results on scan previews. When you open the scanner cover, the Genesis automatically recognizes that user is preparing to scan so that when you shut the scanner lid on a photo or document, preview appears in less than a second; the scanner basically takes a picture of the image on the flatbed (there’s even an old school camera sound effect).
Once the image appears, users will choose how to use the media – scan, fax, SmartSolutions or copy. If you choose scan, you’ll be asked where you want the scan sent to – PC, memory card, email – and then be given the chance to make any necessary edits. Once completed, hit the start button. During our test, it took less than 12 seconds for the scanned image to show up in the designated scan folder on my computer screen. It took slightly longer to scan the same exact image to a memory card, about 25 seconds.
So while I can understand and validate the claim “document to digital in less than 3 seconds” in regards to the super fast scan preview, it does take a tad bit longer to get the image actually scanned onto a new device be it computer, memory card, e-mail, etc.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve used the Lexmark SmartSolutions Technology available on the web-connected inkjet printers announced over the past year. Users need to first setup an account online (I already have one since I’ve reviewed both the Pinnacle and Prestige). You can add multiple Lexmark printers to an account, which is easy to do once the printer is connected to your network. Simply select the printer and enter the provided code into the touch panel. The printer does the rest of the work.
There are three default applications setup – ID Card Copy, Photo Reprint and Tell Me More. It’s easy to add new applications or remove and reorder old apps, but you can’t delete the original three “built-in solutions.” For more information about the SmartSolutions Technology, see our in-depth look “Lexmark SmartSolutions Tech aims to please SMB” article. Since that writing, Lexmark has since added several new applications including Box.net, TripIt, Evernote, Twitter and ESPN News.
Despite the fact that Lexmark Genesis seems to be designed as a stand alone device, it does offer some software for users including the Lexmark Printer Home, Lexmark Fast Pics, Lexmark Tools for Office and an online Lexmark Project Center.
Lexmark Printer Home offers access to the scan software and scan-to features, maintenance, support, printer settings, the user’s guide and additional offerings including the aforementioned Lexmark Tools for Office and Lexmark Project Center. I was a tad bit disappointed that there was no link to Lexmark Fast Pics, a simple photo software that allows users to view and print photos from a photo card. It would be nice to use this software with photos that are already saved to your PC.
However, you can transfer all files from the media inserted into the built-in card reader to your PC, which was a nice bonus. Not to mention that the USB/PictBridge port allows users to not only print from the flash drive, but they can have media copied to the flash drive or attached to an email. The Genesis also recognizes media beyond photos so users can print and attach documents.
The fax machine is easy to use and users can adjust fax settings through the touchscreen or the Lexmark Printer Home. I sent and received faxes with little effort and the Genesis has color fax capability (depending on the machine it’s sending to/ receiving from).
As always, users can print from and adjust print settings through the print preferences/properties menu.
Print speeds and quality tests
Lexmark claims that the Genesis can print up to 33 ppm in black and 30 ppm in color when in draft mode and excluding the first page out. Still, during our tests, I could not get the Genesis to print anywhere close to 30 pages per minute, which is not shocking since I’ve yet to review an inkjet printer that could print anywhere close to 30 ppm or faster.
When printing our 40-page black text word document in Automatic print mode, the Genesis printed at an average rate of 10 ppm with a first page out in about 13 seconds for an overall time of about four and half minutes. This was extremely close to what Lexmark advertised as the ISO print speed for black (10.4 ppm).
When printing in color in Automatic print mode, the print speeds dropped to about 5 ppm on average with a first page out in about 20 seconds.
However, when printing in Lexmark’s Quick Print mode, the print speeds did increase. For instance, when printing our 40-page black text word document in Quick Print, the Genesis printed at an average rate of 16 ppm with a first page out in about 8 seconds for an overall time of about two and a half minutes.
What’s more, I thought the draft print quality was good, definitely usable content in less professional venues. After looking at it for awhile, I think it would even be good enough for a student to turn in when under the gun. Still, I’d go with the Automatic print mode for more important documents since the colors are more vibrant and the blacks darker.
As for photo print speeds, Lexmark advertises that the Genesis can print a 4×6 print in 26 seconds excluding the first time out. I didn’t see 4×6 prints in quite that fast, but on average the Genesis was printing 4×6 images at a 34 second pace.
When printing larger photo images, it took the Genesis under two minutes to print 8.5 x 11-inch photos in both full color or black and white.
I thought the Lexmark Genesis did a good job with photo prints since its being targeted at a SOHO market and the main emphasis is not on photo printing. The colors were bright and accurate when compared to competitor’s shots as well as the original images.
However, when it came to resolution, I found some of the prints to be overly sharpened in the Automatic print mode to the point that the landscape looked unnatural in areas. All print settings can be adjusted, so it might be worth playing around with if you plan on using the Genesis to print a good amount of outdoor photos.