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Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser review

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Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser
  • Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser
  • Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser
  • Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser
  • Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser
  • Lexmark C543dn Colour Laser

Summary

Our Score:

8

Colour is definitely the new black in laser printers, with four-colour machines continuing to drop in price and squeeze the market for straight monochrome devices. Lexmark's C543dn uses a completely new colour laser engine and comes in at around £250 for what is claimed to be a 30ppm machine.

As a colour laser this is a machine of modest dimensions. A redesign has reduced its height and Lexmark has gone for a rather slab-like design in mid-grey and cream. Unusually, there's no well in the top surface of the printer to act as an output tray. Instead, paper ends up on a raised section of the top cover, held in place by a paper stop at the back, and a slight dip at the front, where pages eject from the machine.

At the front is a simple control panel with a two-line by 16-character LCD display and a set of six buttons controlling menu choices. It's a backlit display but only offers characters on a 7 x 5 matrix, meaning there are no true descenders to letters like ‘g' and ‘y'. This will no doubt promote pangs of nostalgia among those who remember early dot-matrix printers.

At the bottom of the front panel is a 250-sheet paper tray and there's a single-sheet feed set into the bottom at desk level. An optional second tray adds a further 550-sheet hopper and increases the single-sheet feed to 100 sheets.

When you pull down the front panel, it's a surprise not to find toner and drum cartridges sitting inside. Toner cartridges have been relegated to the side of the machine and are accessible once you've hinged up a cover with rather ugly protruding hinges.

At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet. There's no wireless connection as standard on this machine, though it's available as an option. This version of the printer does include duplex print as standard, though.

The physical set up is fiddly and involves removing a lot of packing. There are strips, pull cords and rods to extricate, which is fine if you have a dedicated IT department to do the installation (except for the IT technician, of course), but a pain if you're doing it yourself. Lexmark appears to acknowledge the possibility of forgetting a packing piece, by running a diagnostic checking for packing when you first switch on.

This messy setup is a shame as the design of the machine is meant to make maintenance easier; the four, square-ish toner cartridges clip simply into their bays at the side of the machine, making it very easy to replace a spent one.

basicasic

December 5, 2008, 5:50 pm

Good old Lexmark. Still up to their 'sell it cheap and sting 'em for the ink' trick.

PJ

March 14, 2010, 11:06 pm

I bought one of these printers to replace a Samsung which wore out and would be expensive to repair. So far I am impressed with the colour quality which seems better than the samsung and also the duplex printing. The printer appears to ship with large capacity toner and I qualified for the current £100 cash back deal so with a new printer with 2500 sheet toner capacity for £98 I was very pleased. The only quibble I would have is the design of the eject tray which doesn't cope well with 20 to 30 sheets of output. Otherwise so far so good.

Munters

March 19, 2010, 5:39 pm

The printer is instant-on and fast in printing. The output is very good imho.


Cartridges are expensive indeed. If you register with Lexmark however, you'll get a free cartridge for each 10 cartridges returned, and free imaging kits as well. This drops the cost per page a little of course.

Dave Mcintosh

January 20, 2017, 4:09 pm

When I bought this printer I was very excited. A color laser printer for $200! It worked great, beautiful color prints at a good speed. That lasted for about 5-6 months. One day the printer quit working, you would send a document and nothing happened. It gave an error code so I called Lexmark customer service and after about an hour on the phone (they make plug/unplug the printer, restart your computer and a bunch of other crap you've already tried) they tell me they are sending me another printer for next day delivery. Hurray! Problem solved, or so I thought. The next day the 'new' printer arrived and I set it up. Instructions tell me to swap a number of parts from my old printer to this one including toner cartridges. I turn it on and get an error message, 'black toner cartridge not supported'. Call customer support again, they will send me a new black cartridge, man on other end 'guarantees me this will solve the problem because as you can imagine I'm getting frustrated. Couple days later new cartridge arrives, put it in, now says Magenta cartridge not supported. What the F***! Another call, mind you these calls take a minimum of 30 minutes. They will now send me 4 new cartridges. A couple days pass, put in new cartridges, printer works...Hurray! Over the next month, printer starts acting up. I periodically get messages that printer is 'out of paper' when it has plenty or a 'manual feed error' when I wasn't using manual feed. I'm getting fed up again and I call customer service. This woman seems to think its my computer that is the problem. I spend an hour and a half on the phone as we reinstall drivers, check IP addresses, change settings, restart computer even though I tell her the original printer worked flawlessly for 6 months. At one point, I couldn't even connect to the printer at all. Finally, I got my computer reset to where it was and I could print again. Luckily I made her wait while I tried to print several times. Every time the paper jammed. She now says it a printer issue, she will send me another one, next day. That day is today. I get the 'new' printer (they aren't actually new, but some printer that had problems and was returned and 'repaired'). I set it up (it came with the cartridges this time, I wasn't falling for that again). I turn it on, the display lights up, the printer beeps, and it goes dead. Display turns off, nothing happens. Try the switch again, same thing. What the heck? This has been here for 5 minutes, it's right out of the box! Call customer service, they're sending me another one...

I am now online looking at a Cannon model...

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