No matter how small your computer may become, scanners and printers still have to conform to the physical demands of the paper world. The typical printer or scanner will take up at least two square feet of desk space. Add to that the encumbrance of a stand-alone fax machine that many still insist on using, and you require a fair volume of room space just to house all the machinery. Here come the advantages of the multifunction printer, which may not do everything brilliantly but it does them all in a small space. The price of multifunction printers has been falling for some time, but Lexmark has taken a remarkable step forward with its X5150, which offers print, scan, copy and fax for the same price as a budget photoprinter. Lexmark claims the X5150 prints black-and-white pages at up to 19 pages per minute and colour at 14ppm. The 48-bit scanner has an effective scanning area of 8.5 inches by 11.7 inches and scans photos or documents at 2,400 dots per inch. A Scan To Application mode lets users send scanned objects directly to a program without having to open the application first. So if you scan a document, you can start editing it immediately. The scanner comes with BVRP FaxTools fax software, although you will have to supply your own modem to send or receive faxes. Other bundled materials include ABBYY FineReader Sprint OCR software and Chinese IDU Tsinghua OCR software. The printer supports Chinese, in both its software and its LCD display and control panel. Most features on the system can be activated from the control panel rather than the PC, so a scanned photograph can be sent directly to the photo editor, or a document straight to a word processor. Likewise, the system can be used to copy photographs or documents without having to access the desktop software. The Lexmark X5150 has a recommended retail price of HK$1,390.