Pinnacle

GCN LAB REVIEW

A printer a telecommuter would love

Lexmark Pinnacle handles MFP chores without breaking the bank for ink

There’s no doubt that printers are a frustrating part of the telecommuting experience. Anyone working from a home office must either spend real money for an expensive laser printer, which will usually be black and white, or perhaps go for a cheaper color machine from a big box store, for which the ink cartridges are likely more expensive than the hardware.

The choices satisfy very few in the market and that creates a hole of opportunity into which a wise printer company could insert a good, stand-alone model that doesn’t require breaking the bank for ink supplies.

That’s the approach Lexmark has taken with its Pinnacle printer. At its most basic, the Pinnacle is an entry into the crowded printer/scanner/copier/fax machine marketplace. In such a competitive environment, a new printer needs to make a strong play, and the Pinnacle does that. New B&W ink cartridges cost only $4.99 each for the Pinnacle, which gives a 500-page yield. Compared with others that go for $30 or so, that’s a strong case for Lexmark. Color ink cartridges are a little more expensive, but still reasonable at $20 for a 600-page yield cartridge.


GCN Lab Reviewers Choice Award 2011 Lexmark Pinnacle MFP

Performance: A
Ease of Use: A
Features: A
Value: A
Price: $299
Pros: A different approach to printing for home and small office work, great price.
Cons: Might have a few more features than most need.

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To begin using the Pinnacle, users must first become comfortable with the Printer Control Panel, a smallish touchscreen that manage the functions of the machine. This controls the initial set up as well as all the ways to print, fax, scan and copy as well as to tap the unit’s e-mail and social networking capabilities. I found it useful, if maybe a little too small for my comfort during the testing period.

That’s not a real obstacle. If a user can function with a Blackberry or iPhone keypad, this will be no problem. The interface is quite intuitive and didn’t hold me up more than the few seconds it took to read a new screen and input my wishes.

From a features perspective, the Pinnacle is loaded with goodies. There are probably more than single users will need in their home offices, but they all worked in testing, including:

Printing. The Pinnacle allows for single-sided, double-sided and multiple pages on a sheet printing. Users also have the ability to use USB, Bluetooth or memory cards to print directly to the printer instead of routing through the desktop. The Pinnacle also has outstanding photo printing capabilities that allow for high quality images, provided one uses the correct paper.

Copying. The system allows for copying with all printing features enabled. Law offices or those dealing with stringent documentation requirements will find this very handy.

Scanning. Users can scan to a desktop machine automatically, but the Pinnacle also offers the ability to scan directly to a memory card or flash drive. In addition, items can be scanned to e-mail, which the printer will send. That’s a neat feature that will prove handy to the right users. Anything that removes steps adds to productivity. A business card scanning function is a nice touch because since this will eliminate those dedicated card scanning devices.

Faxing. Although faxing isn’t the technology it was 10 years ago, there are still significant reasons for some offices to wish to use it. The Pinnacle connects to a standard telephone line and can then behave as a fax machine. It can also do so over DSL, digital phone service via cable, and VoIP. Users can specify quick-dial options for up to 10 groups and more than 80 individuals through the touch screen interface. 

Telecommuter advantage

The Lexmark Pinnacle seems almost perfectly designed for the home office of government telecommuters, or even small business offices. It’s heavier than a regular printer, but seems much tougher and able to take some jostling and bouncing. I can see the Pinnacle becoming a go-to document solution for those who need an all-in-one solution that won’t chew up desk space. There’s likely even a market for it in larger institutions where smaller workgroups can share a printer. This isn’t a single solution for 200 people, but it could be appealing to groups of 10 to 15 people.

Document printing was relatively fast, almost at laser printer speed. We achieved an average of 28 pages per minute in extensive testing.

As a final plus, the Pinnacle has clearly been designed to function in the wireless world. It set up easily. The biggest problem will probably be finding your WEP key. Once that is done, it should connect easily to any 802.11x wireless network. The printer doesn’t neglect Ethernet networking either, should that be your network solution. If that’s the case, just plug in a Category 5 cable and you are good to go.

This is a piece of equipment that could benefit anyone who works from home or any workgroup of about 10  workstations. It’s truly a well designed all-in-one piece of gear for those who need it. And because of its low overhead associated with low prices for ink cartridges, the Lexmark has broken the mold open for MFPs in this part of the market. And for that, the Pinnacle earns our own pinnacle award, the Reviewer’s Choice designation.

Lexmark, Lexington, KY. 240-603-9580 www.lexmark.com

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