Oh, those speed claims, when will they ever end? Lexmark quotes speeds for draft and normal print, with 30ppm and 13ppm for black print and 27ppm and 5ppm for colour. Our five-page black text print produced a speed of 5.8ppm in normal mode and this climbed to 7.0ppm for the 20-page equivalent, little more than half the published figure. These real-world speeds are largely due to a prolonged wait for the first page to be processed and sent to the printer; on the 20-page print it was a full 25 seconds before printing started.
Using the built-in duplexer slows the machine to 4.6 sides per minute, though this is still better than from some of the printer's rivals. A five-page black text and colour print took 2:32, which is a speed of 1.97ppm. This is slow, even for an inkjet.
When it comes to copying, the X4975ve is slower still. Copying a colour page from the flatbed took 1:26, which is poor, but copying a five page black text document from the ADF took 4:58. Just under a page a minute is barely acceptable in any machine that calls itself Professional. The Canon PIXMA MX330, a good £50 cheaper than this machine, completed the same job in 1:17.
The output quality is okay, and black text is dark and dense, though there is some spread of ink into the fibres of our multipurpose plain paper. It's not as clean as from Canon or HP equivalents, but is good enough for general correspondence. Colour graphics are a little pale, but don't suffer from banding and there's good registration of black text over coloured backgrounds.
A colour photocopy reproduced the tints of the original remarkably well and, as this implies, scanned images were generally better than average. Colour photos were bright, if a little dark and over-vivid
Lexmark cartridges are not cheap, with the high yield (500 page) black consumable costing £28 and the colour one costing £24, for the same yield. They come out quite a bit cheaper if you buy the two together in a twin pack, so we used this to calculate the page costs. These come out at 4.67p for black and 8.53p for colour. The black cost is close to the highest we've seen, though the colour cost is comparatively reasonable.
The X4975ve is well-specified and looks good on the desk, but it's print speed, particularly when printing colour or copying, is slow, so slow it may impede your workflow. While the quality of prints is reasonable, though nothing special, the cost of black print is much higher than it should be. This isn't an entry-level all-in-one and Lexmark shouldn't be charging so heavily for its consumables.