Lexmark is honest enough to quote speeds at normal print quality, as well as draft, though the values they claim, 13ppm and 5ppm, respectively, are still optimistic. We time tests from clicking Print in an application to the last page hitting the output tray in the printer and we suspect all printer companies time only the actual print time, without including rasterisation.
When we looked at the prints the X8350 produced, we saw pretty clear and dense black text print. There was a slight spattering around some characters, but no more than from similar, rival devices. Colour print of business graphics was better than this and we saw well filled areas of colour, with very little banding.
The photo print on Lexmark’s glossy photo paper using four ink colours was of very good quality, too, with clean, regularly varied sky and plenty of detail in shadowed areas. So much so, that we felt they should have been a bit darker.
We also copied the text and graphics page, using both the flatbed glass and the ASF. Results were generally good, though as usual, colours were less dense, with lighter tones in the original suffering the most. Even so, copies were acceptable and considerably cheaper than commercial printed ones.
The print engine takes two cartridges, black and tri-colour, and you can fit an optional photo cartridge for six-colour photo printing. The two main cartridges are available in standard and high yield versions and we used high yield cartridges to calculate costs. We produced around 440 pages from a black cartridge, though it’s hard to tell exactly when the black cartridge is spent, as the machine automatically switches to printing black with its tri-colour cartridge. The test result gives a 5 per cent black page print cost of 3.34p, which puts it in the middle of the ink-jet cost bracket.
The colour cartridge produced 587, 20 per cent colour pages, giving a cost per page of 24.3p. This again sits in the same range as most of the X8350’s competitors.
The X8350 is a well-conceived all-in-one machine, ideal for anybody working from home or in a small office. Its dual abilities to send faxes and to print from memory cards, as well as the core print, scan and copy functions, make it a real all-rounder. Both print quality and running costs sit well up the range of what’s available and its asking price makes it very good value for money.