Lexmark quotes a maximum speed of 28ppm, but we only saw about half of this under test. Our five-page text print returned a speed of 12ppm in normal mode, but this only rose to 12.5ppm when we selected draft mode. Then again, there was little noticeable difference in print quality, so you might as well use draft to gain the slight speed increase.
The 20-page test still only resulted in a speed increase of 2ppm, taking the speed up to 14ppm and we saw a top speed of 15ppm, when we ran the five-page text and graphics document. These speeds are fair for a mono laser, particularly one at this relatively low price.
When we ran the 20-side duplex document, we saw 13.0 sides per minute, a good turn of speed for duplex print. A single-page copy from the flatbed took 11s and a five-page document from the ADF still only took 22s, a very good turn of speed. Finally, a 15 x 10cm photo print on A4 took 24s, a reasonable result.
The quality of the prints varies quite a bit with the type of document being printed. Black text comes through very cleanly, with the default resolution of 1,200dpi ensuring there are no rough edges to any characters. Greyscale graphics are OK in small amounts, but graphics fills show some banding and a limited range of grey shades.
Our photo print was only fair, with some banding in large areas of fill and some loss of detail in dark shades. Photocopies of greyscale material are pretty ropey, with blotchy fills and darker shades coming through black, making overlaid text impossible to read.
The toner cartridges are available in capacities of 3,500 and 9,000 pages, with the 9,000 page part having a large enough yield to ensure you won't need to maintain the printer too often. At current Internet prices, we calculate a cost per ISO text page of 2.5p. While not the lowest cost we've seen for this class of machine, it’s still a relatively cheap device to run.
Perhaps the biggest factor in favour of the Lexmark X264dn is its asking price. It’s exceptional to be able to buy a machine with this spec and feature set for under £150. It’s not a loss leader, either, as the consumables are priced to give very reasonable running costs, particularly if you can afford the high yield cartridges. It’s reasonably quick and produces good prints, though greyscale copies are disappointing.