Lexmark quotes print speeds of 22ppm and 21ppm for black and colour print, respectively. Our five-page text print completed in 24 seconds, giving a real-world, non-draft mode, black print speed of 12.5ppm and the colour text and graphics job, again five pages, took 27 seconds, giving 11.1ppm. The ratio is about right, though as usual we see around half the claimed figures.
The quality of prints from this machine is very high. Text output is crisp and clear with very little spatter and good, clean diagonals and curves. Colour graphics are also well reproduced with bright, solid colours and good text overlay, showing neither text spatter nor mis-registration with the underlying colours.
Even photo reproduction, not normally a strength with laser printers, is better than usual. Of the two print modes available, normal and best quality, there are some slight improvements in the colour palette using best quality print. Neither of the images looks particularly natural and there is some slight banding apparent in the skies section of the image, but overall results were impressive for a colour laser.
When printing in duplex mode, on both sides of the paper, the C532dn prints the first sides of two sheets at a time, taking each back in from the output tray for printing their second sides. The machine is quick and efficient at duplex printing, though with all forms of print it’s quite noisy. Lexmark claims a noise level of 53dBA, but we measured it consistently at around 60dBA, an intrusive sound level.
There are two sets of consumables in this printer: photoconductor drums and cartridges of toner. Black toner is only available in one, 4,000-sheet capacity, but the three colour cartridges can be bought in 3,000-sheet and 5,000-sheet versions. You can also buy the 20,000-sheet photoconductor drums singly or in a four-pack.
Using the cheapest options throughout, we reach a five per cent black text page cost of 2.02p and a 20 per cent colour page cost of 7.92p. The text page cost is slightly higher than some of the printer’s main competitors, but this is countered by the colour cost, which comes in at the lower end of the scale.
This is a good colour workhorse for a small office or a workgroup within a larger organisation. Its black and colour output is well above average and although it’s slightly fiddly to maintain, it’s quick and relatively inexpensive to run.