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By Hanleigh Daniels 20 January 2010

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The touch-screen phenomenon that has taken mobiles and MP3 players by storm has jumped to other devices as well, and printers are no exception. Lexmark’s Platinum Pro905 is a business all-in-one that sports a “MyTouch” WQVGA LCD touch-screen, which functions as the printer's on board control panel. The indomitable touch-screen isn't the only mobile trend that makes an appearance on the Platinum Pro905 either, as a unique "Smart Solutions" button on its touch-screen allows you to enhance its abilities via downloadable apps. 

 
Design and functionality
 
Measuring 307 x 465 x 392 mm, the Pro905 will take up a little more desk space than the Lexmark Pro705 (250 x 465 x 392 mm). This all-in-one is housed in a modern and stylish, if somewhat conservative, casing- much as what we came to expect from Lexmark. The modern look and feel is further enhanced by its 4.3" LCD touch-screen. Using the “MyTouch” WQVGA LCD touch-screen for your scanning, copying and faxing jobs is easy and intuitive.

The response time of the bright screen is good and the resolution of the display isn’t shabby either. It displays instructions while you are busy setting up the machine, even displaying an instructional video that teaches you how to make the most of what the Pro905 has to offer.
 
Now with Apps
 
The home screen of the Pro905 doesn’t only feature the icons for copying, scanning and faxing,  a “Smart Solutions” icon that takes you to a personalised menu for all your downloaded applications is also present. There are currently 18 downloadable apps for the printer, which includes a Google Calendar which allows you to view and print meetings and appointments from the calendar. There’s also a Picasa Photo Viewer app that gives you direct access to Picasa from your printer control panel, enabling you to view and print your favourite photos.
You can download apps from the SmartSolutions section on the Lexmark website.
 
In order to download these apps you must be connected to the internet from a PC and connected to the printer. Register on the site and then add your printer on the SmartSolutions section. Once you've done this you can just add the apps you want to the SmartSolutions section of the site and then sync it with your printer to store the app on there.
 
Paper handling
 
Total paper capacity is a good 300 sheets, thanks to the Platinum Pro905’s two 150-sheet paper trays. There are however a couple of niggles with these printer trays. Firstly, the printer doesn’t automatically switch to tray 2 when tray 1 is out of paper. Secondly, only tray 1 can accommodate 4 x 6" photo paper. Lexmark also could have done a lot more to ensure that printed out documents are kept tidy, since the output tray left pages spilling around.   
 
Performance
 
Maximum printing speed (quick print Mode) for black pages is a claimed 33 ppm according to Lexmark, which seems a little inflated and so is the stated 30 ppm maximum colour printing speed. The Pro905 prints at a very fast pace, but not at the claimed speed. The quality of printing was good, even on the fastest setting, although colour pictures on regular paper, even small ones, left the paper a bit wetter than other printers we've tested.  
 
Lexmark’s Pro905 also sports the same Eco Mode as the Prevail Pro705. If you engage the Eco Mode, the Pro905 switches print, copy and fax jobs sent to the machine to duplex (double-sided printing) in order to save paper while also using the least amount of ink. It also dims the LCD display when not in use and switches the Pro905 to Power Saver mode after ten minutes of non-use.
 
Scanning on the Pro905 is also easy and the quality of the scanning jobs is very good, with a 1200 x 4800 dpi resolution over a maximum scanning area of 216 x 356 mm.
 
Connectivity
 
As was the case with the Pro705, the Pro905 sports a plethora of connectivity options such as a card slot for SD, MemoryStick, MMC and xD cards and a USB support as well. There’s also support for 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and PictBridge cameras, but no Bluetooth support.
 
Verdict
 
The Lexmark touch-screen interface is easy to use and intuitive, plus looks stunning. Printing on the Pro905 is also fast and of good quality. Businesses that require larger amounts of paper to be printed would go for this printer over the Pro705, thanks to the additional paper tray, which along with the touch-screen and downloadable apps certainly ups the stakes for other manufacturers. It’s up there with the best of the all-in-ones available, but comes at a price- an eye popping R4449. 
PROS
Touch-screen interface is easy and intuitive, fast printing speed, apps cool
CONS
Too few papers can be collected by the pullout paper support tray. No Bluetooth.
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