Print times are reasonable, though not the fastest in class, with our five page text print taking 52 seconds and the single-page, mixed text and graphics print, 35 seconds. Considering Lexmark quotes a maximum black print speed of 22 pages per minute in draft mode, the five and a bit pages per minute we measured in normal mode is less impressive.
Output quality is reasonable, though black print is not that black if you use the photo cartridge, rather than the straight black one. Even with the black cartridge installed, text is a bit ragged, with noticeable splatter around some characters. Lexmark’s liquid ink technology has lagged behind its major competitors for several years now.
Colour graphics show some banding, but in general reproduction isn’t too bad. When it comes to photographic prints, the main target of the P915, colours are rich, though with a slight red cast. Comparing four and six-colour photo prints, it’s surprising there’s more detail in the four-colour output. This is particularly true in areas of shadow, but as some compensation, the six-colour prints show more energy in the deeper, more vivid colours.
The P915 uses the same standard and high-yield ink cartridges as the P6250, but the cost of a 20 per cent colour page came out slightly lower than from the all-in-one. This is not because of the different print yield, but due to variations in consumable costs. Although the lowest ink cartridge prices we could find are still higher than for the earlier machine, the cost of Lexmark’s glossy photo paper has dropped and more than compensates. So we have a cost of just over three pence for a five per cent black text page and 38p for 20 per cent colour, using a four-colour print model. Neither of these costs is untoward, though with some of the better-known brands, their cheaper photo paper can make a big difference to overall cost.
This is a convenient and well-designed, multifunction printer. It’s display and control buttons make it easy to use as a standalone photo printer, but it’s at home, too, printing text or images from a PC. Print quality isn’t up to the best Canon, Epson or HP can offer, but for many people it will be more than good enough.