Lexmark used to give inkjet printing a bad name, serving up cheap, flimsy models that only ran for a few days on their 'installation' cartridges before needing replacements, which would often cost more than the original purchase price of the printer itself.
The S605 represents a major rethink, ditching the tri-colour cartridges originally favoured by Lexmark and ushering in a single print head unit, fed by individually replaceable ink tanks – more in line with Canon and Epson printers.
And while you can connect the S605 to your PC or Mac via a conventional USB hook-up, it really comes into its own as a standalone, Wi-Fi connected all-in-one printer, complete with one-touch Smart Solutions that you can download from the Internet.
At the heart of the S605 lies a 4800 x 1200dpi print engine running a conventional four-colour CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) range of inks.
This makes it first and foremost a document printer although it does a surprisingly good job of photo output as well, as we'll come to later.
All-in-one frippery includes a built-in 1200 x 2400dpi scanner, which – while not offering the ultra-high 4800 x 9600dpi maximum resolution of some competing models like the Canon PIXMA MP640 – still gives plenty of scope for enlarging small sections of original documents or photos.
There's also a built-in media card reader with support for SD, SDHC, MMC, MS and xD cards, although there's no CompactFlash slot, which will be missed by photographers who use D-SLRs like the Canon 50D or Nikon D300s.
Print speed is very impressive. The S605 managed to output an A4 mono text page in just seven seconds in our tests, while a colour page with mixed text and graphics pages came out in a similarly speedy 18 seconds.
Photo output is also reasonably rapid, with 6 x 4-inch prints in normal quality mode taking about 30 seconds and borderless A4 photos being delivered in 80 seconds.
Colour rendition is surprisingly rich and accurate considering there are only four inks under the bonnet, but – while the S605's photo prowess is streets ahead of older Lexmark models that included an optional six-ink cartridge line-up, like the X4650 – it's still not quite a match for some of the latest five-ink and six-ink printers like the Canon MP640 and Epson PX710W.
Taking into consideration that it's an inkjet printer and not a groovy gadget that lives in your pocket, the S605 is a joy to use thanks to its big 10.9cm colour touchscreen, which makes everything from standalone photocopying to printing from memory cards a doddle.
Better still, you can download so-called Smart Solutions direct from Lexmark's website for a wide range of one-touch functions.
These range from scanning in business cards, to viewing and printing photos from Picasa, to direct printing from Internet news feeds.
You can also print Google calendars as well as keeping an eye on an animated clock or doing your maths homework with an on-screen calculator. All in all, it's a very well thought-out package.