Print quality is very patchy. Our test photo image reproduced well, with good detail in shadows and clean transitions from dark to light tints in areas of sky. Lexmark now markets its own glossy photo paper, where before it relied first on Kodak and then Ilford as third-party suppliers. Perhaps a new formulation of surface layer on its own paper has improved reproduction quality.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for text and graphics on regular office paper. Text looks crude and jagged, particularly at smaller point sizes, and there are plenty of unpleasant printing attributes, such as feathers were ink has run into the paper nap, and positional displacements, where the paper hasn’t fed smoothly. Areas of colour fill aren’t completely smooth and have a slight flecking, where the white of the paper shows through.
Print speeds are reasonable, though as usual nowhere near the claimed figures. Lexmark is honest enough to quote speeds for normal print, rather than draft, but a speed of 17 pages per minute doesn’t compare very well with the six pages per minute we measured. We saw around two pages per minute for our text and colour graphics page and just over two minutes for a 5 x 3in top quality colour photo.
Using high-yield cartridges, which give the best economy, we printed 534 copies of our black test page, around 10 per cent more than Lexmark claims. This produces a cost per five per cent black page of 3.09p.This is in the middle of the field of ink-jet costs measured recently. Unless your printing needs are very modest, buy the high-yield cartridge, as the standard yield one is rated at only 200 pages.
Colour yield tests produced a very impressive 608 pages before we started to see banding. This equates to a cost per page of 41.1p, which is not that good, but over 30p of that is the cost of Lexmark’s photo paper. If you can find a cheaper paper source, the overall cost would drop dramatically.
In the end, the P6250 is still a triumph of presentation over function. If Lexmark could bring the same flair to its core ink-jet technology that it does to the design of the controls and features of this machine, it would have a winning combination.