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Print quality is only OK, as our print samples showed some smudging and irregular character build, particularly in lines of text. Colour graphics came through fairly cleanly, though again there was some spread of ink into the paper. A colour copy of our text and graphics page, produced on the machine, showed considerable colour degradation, compared with the printed original.
Our photo print showed up the differences between four-ink and six-ink colour printing quite dramatically. The six-ink print was more vibrant, with richer, truer hues. Reds and blues were better reproduced and shadowed sections were darker. A slight yellow cast to the four-ink print was also removed.
There are standard and high yield versions of both the black and tri-colour ink cartridges and neither of these are particularly expensive, if bought online. Black text works out at around 3.6p per five per cent cover page, which is not bad for an inkjet. A 20 per cent colour page costs 35p, but the majority of this is taken up by a sheet of Lexmark's A4 paper, which is around the 24p mark.
Low ink warnings are very premature, even allowing for the time needed to go out and buy replacements. In our colour tests, the machine was issuing warnings when there was still nearly a third of the ink left: when it came to black, it was nearer a half. As always, judge for yourself when print quality drops off and only change cartridges then.
Take extra care, too, as it's something of a balancing act. This Lexmark machine automatically changes to printing black text with the three colours from its colour cartridge, if you don't replace the black cartridge when it’s truly empty. Black printing with three colours is much more costly.
The P6350 is a well-designed machine at a budget price. It can produce very acceptable colour photos, though plain paper prints are less impressive – it’s also both easy to use and versatile. Print costs are reasonable for the class of machine, as long as you take the first low-ink warnings with a pinch of salt. For anybody with the normal cross-section of home printing tasks, it’s a sound choice.
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