Since this is an in-line laser printer, where all four colours are applied to the page in a single pass, it’s surprising Lexmark quotes 30ppm for black print, but only 20ppm for colour. In our tests, a five-page black text document took 19 seconds to print, though if the machine has been in sleep mode, there’s a further 13-second warm-up, euphemistically called ‘calibration’.
This test result gives a print speed of 15.8ppm (without the warm-up), but if you increase the page run to 20, the printer completes it in 54 seconds, an improved 22ppm, but still rather short of the headline figure. Switching to colour print, our five-page black text and colour graphics job took 25 seconds, or 12ppm. With typical business documents you’re unlikely to see the kinds of print speeds Lexmark quotes.
Finally, the 15 x 10cm photo print sample took 18 seconds to print, a single-page copy took 22 seconds and a five-page copy from the ADF took 54 seconds. The colour copy in particular produces a good result, with much less of the fading noticeable between original and copy than we normally see.
Photo reproduction is also very good, as colours are less overstated than from most colour lasers. As you might expect, the results from this machine and the Xerox Phaser 6180, both of which use the same laser engine, are very similar. Colour graphics are sharp and vivid and black text comes through intensely black and well formed, even with the default 600dpi resolution of the Lexmark device.
You can buy colour toner cartridges with yields of 4000 or 10,000 pages, though the black cartridge is only available in the higher yield 10,000 page variant. Using high yield cartridges throughout to calculate running costs gives a five per cent black page cost of 2.14p, which is competitive with other devices of the type, though the figure of 6.10p for a 20% colour page is better than from the Xerox Phaser.
This is a well-designed, thoroughbred, heavyweight office machine, well up to medium to heavy office duty cycles and producing quality colour pages, including those from photographic images. It’s a particularly cheap machine to run, with easy maintenance and consumables that only have to be changed every 10,000 pages or so. So, though the purchase price may look a bit high, the extra scanning and fax functions are compensation.