As you might expect from a machine with the same print engine as others we’ve recently tested, speed test results are also very similar. Our five-page, black text print took 54 seconds to complete, which is a speed of 5.55ppm, but this increased to 6.86ppm when we printed the longer, 20-page document. The five-page text and colour graphics test took 1:21, a speed of 3.70ppm. None of these is particularly impressive, though they do sit in the middle of the field for inkjet all-in-ones in this price bracket.
Print quality has never been a strong point of Lexmark inkjets, but the introduction of the new individual-ink Vizix engine has made a dramatic improvement. Black text prints are now generally clean and sharp and colour business graphics include some arresting colours, even on plain paper. Colour copies are refreshingly close to the originals they’re taken from.
Photo prints are also improved, much less dotty thanks to improved dither patterns and with good levels of detail in light and dark areas of each image. Colours are lifelike and natural, without veering to the bland.
Ink cartridge prices we’ve quoted for previous ‘S’ and Pro range all-in-ones have come from Lexmark’s own online sales site, because the cartridges hadn’t filtered through to the normal retail channels. This time, we found substantially lower prices from several suppliers, including Misco. This gives lower running costs for this machine, but since the cartridges are common to all the printers in the range, they can all benefit from the reduced prices.
As before, cartridges are available in two capacities and as return programme or non-return programme variants. Using the higher yield, XL return programme versions gives a cost per ISO black page of 4.13p, with 10.13p for an ISO colour page. While these are lower than before, there’s still about a penny higher per black page and a couple of pence higher per colour than from several rivals.
The Impact S305 is a surprisingly capable all-in-one for under £100. It uses the same core print technology as Lexmark machines costing three times the price and the new Vizix print engine shows its paces just as well in this cheaper model, producing better than average plain paper print and much better photo print than before. With a good set of data ports and wireless connection as standard, this machine stands its ground against its main rivals.