It seems like buttons on gadgets may soon be facing extinction.
Touch-screens appear to be taking over – on phones, cameras and now printers.
One such piece of equipment is the Lexmark S605, which has a touch-screen to rival any iPhone, with simple easy-to-use icons helping you through every application, whether it’s scanning, photocopying or just bog-standard printing.
It’s wireless too – so although you can connect it to your PC or Mac via a conventional USB hook-up, it also gives you the option to use it in a way that prevents those pesky cables getting all tangled up.
Its wireless nature also allows you to print and scan from virtually anywhere in your home, as well as share the printer among multiple computers.
And for full-on interactivity, you can even use Smart Solutions to download applications – or iPhone-style ‘apps’ – such as business card scanners, doctor’s note templates, or even up-to-the-minute news and sports stories.
Headlines run across the touch-screen and you can then choose to print whole articles – for free - should you wish.
They may be a bit basic but it is handy and distracting enough to have a few passing words to read, while you wait – like Snow White – for your prints to come.
Lexmark’s ambitious aim is to make the S605 a ‘home hub for the whole family’ and promise to keep adding new, downloadable Solutions to their website all the time.
Setting up the equipment is incredibly simple, too. You just pop the instructional CD in your disk drive and it starts communicating with the printer immediately, talking you through the steps with a mini instructional video that you follow on the touch-screen.
A photo reprint option allows you to make high-quality reproductions of your existing hard-copy pictures, while digital pics can be printed directly from memory cards and USBs.
Ink quality is good, on the whole (although the red did smudge slightly on one of the standard paper copies I made).
And you can’t argue with the printing speeds - up to 33 pages per minute with the black ink and 30 with the colour option (4 x 6 photos print as quickly as 24 seconds).
The S605 isn’t exactly tiny, but for the combination of technology you get, it’s surprising how little space it actually does take up.
It’s a pretty good-looking machine, too, with its black and silver colour combination a much-welcome break from those insipid beige-grey ones usually found lurking around in home offices.
For those who like their technology as green as possible, the S605’s ecomode option should suit. It automatically dims the printer display lights, puts the printer into power-saver mode after ten minutes of inactivity and prints on both sides of the paper.