Lexmark has added wireless connectivity to a lot of its new range of printers and all-in-ones and the Z1520 is at the top of its printer range, with automatic duplexing and photo-printing thrown into the mix. It can be had at a price well below its RRP, too.
Long and low are the best adjectives to apply to the Z1520. In a blocky white and silver case, it has a black panel highlight on top and a smoked, black, fold-up feed tray, which can hold a hundred sheets. A grey, plastic output tray slides out from the front of the printer and a grey bulge at the back houses the built-in duplexer.
On-board controls are minimal, with buttons for two-sided printing, paper feed and power. There's a USB 2.0 socket alongside the small Wi-Fi aerial at the back, giving two standard connections to the outside world.
A USB installation of the printer is uncomplicated; just run the setup software and you end with a reasonable set of Lexmark applets, including a driver which supports page imposition and that built-in duplexer.
Installing for wireless, a key reason for buying this model, isn't a lot more difficult, though you do need to connect the printer temporarily via the supplied USB installation cable, so you'll have to have it near a PC during installation. You can then move it to a more convenient location, if you want. The setup software detects networks automatically and all you have to do is confirm the one you want the printer attached to.
Lexmark inkjets have never been devastatingly fast and, as always, manufacturers speed figures don't bear much resemblance to typical, everyday printing. Lexmark quotes 10ppm for black print and 4ppm for colour, while we saw 4.7ppm and 1.8ppm, respectively. Speeds using the Wi-Fi connection were slightly faster than with a USB cable, which is unusual.
Since the printer is fitted with a duplexer as standard, we also ran our 20-side, duplex document test, which took 4:49 to complete, giving a speed of 4:15ppm. This is around twice as quick as Canon's PIXMA MP610, mainly because of the much shorter drying time allowed between printing of the first and second sides.
The other speed anomaly is in PictBridge printing from a digital camera. This took around 35 seconds longer per 15 x 10cm print than printing direct from an SD card, which was itself 18 seconds slower than printing from a PC. We tried two different digital cameras and saw the same slow PictBridge speeds.