Two speeds each are quoted for black and colour printing, in normal and draft modes. The normal mode claims are 13ppm for black print and 3ppm for colour. Our five-page, black text print completed in 48 seconds, giving a real-world throughput of 6.25ppm and our black and colour, text and graphics test took 3:38, a speed of 1.38ppm. Neither of these is particularly fast, but are not bad for an entry-level machine.
A 15 by 10cm photo print took 2:04, which is again not quick, but this was in best print mode and when we repeated the test in normal mode, it took around half the time, at 1:08. There’s not a lot of difference between the two prints in quality terms.
A single-page, colour photocopy took 1:36, which is sluggish, though a single black page copied in 15 seconds, good for any inkjet all-in-one.
Print quality is only fair. Black text, normally not a problem for even inexpensive printers, is very poorly saturated. Under a loupe you can see there are plenty of white paper fibres showing through in areas that should be solid black. To the naked eye this appears grey, rather than true black.
Colour graphics on plain paper are, surprisingly, more reasonable, with good dense fills and even pale colours coming through strong and smooth. A colour photocopy loses a lot of that strength, though, with much paler colours than in the originals.
Photo print, on Lexmark’s Premium Glossy photo paper, is good with clean graduated tints, plenty of foreground definition, natural colours and obvious shadow detail; all the elements we look for are well represented.
Printer makers can control the running costs of their printers through two, related methods. They can raise or lower the price of a cartridge and they can increase or decrease the amount of ink in it. The X2650 uses a number 14A and a number 15A cartridge – or their Return Programme equivalents, the 14 and 15. Whichever you choose, they have measured IS0 page yields of 175 black and 150 colour pages.
Since the cheapest price we could find for the cartridges is £12.34 each, the costs per page come out at 7.87p for black and 16.1p for colour. These are very high – compare them with costs for the entry-level Epson Stylus D92 printer we tested recently, which are 2.91p and 6.93p. When you’re spending nearly 8p for each text page printed, you’ll want to be cautious with how many you print.
At first sight, the X2650 looks like good value. If you want a simple all-in-one, without the extras of memory card printing or fax, it seems a good buy. However, and it’s a pretty big however, it’s going to cost you a lot in ink. Lexmark could really do with introducing high-capacity cartridges for the device, to reduce running costs and the frequency of replacement – 175 black pages is nothing, even for someone who’s only printing occasionally.