Lexmark has an uphill struggle on its hands if it's to break the Epson, HP and Canon stranglehold on the home photo printers market. This is especially true for mini photo lab printers. Epson's PictureMate and HP's PhotoSmart printers have things pretty much stitched up.

The last mini lab photo printer that we saw from Lexmark was the P450, distinguished by having a CD drive that could burn images to disc direct from the memory card. That turned out to be a gimmicky feature and other problems riddled it, such as poor overall build quality, photos with mottling and inaccurate colour, slow print times and expensive costs per print.

The P350 dramatically improves upon the P450 on all those points, but doesn't reach the quality of PictureMates.

Like the P450, the P350 can print from either your iPhoto Library using a USB cable, or as a standalone device working directly with your camera's memory card. It has slots for xD, MS, SD, MMC and CF cards.

Print times are average for these kinds of printer: one 10x15cm print takes approximately 90 seconds. The interface and buttons are simple to use. The build quality is not all there yet, and things wobble. The major improvement here, though, is the ink.

Lexmark has gone back to basics, inventing a whole new ink technology called Evercolor 2. New features that spring from it on the P350 are promises of a 100-year shelf life for each photo and much more accurate colour. The 100-year claim is hard to gauge, but the prints do seem to have benefited from the research. They are brighter and better coloured than they ever were on its predecessor.

That said, for the eagle-eyed, resolution and consistency are still problems; in batch prints there was slight variety in colour output, some skin tones could appear pixelated and the edges of fine lines and details lack crispness. But it's encouraging to see Lexmark on the right path.