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I've just spent the best part of two hours Google-ing to see if I can get to the bottom of my problem with this printer. I've found the answer and I don't like it.
My girlfriend's parents donated this printer to us at a time when we couldn't afford to buy a new one (coincidentally to replace another Lexmark machine). We were delighted to receive a practically brand new wireless printer, which meant we could both print documents and not have to be wired up to the printer, and they even threw in a couple of replacement ink cartridges. In the words of Alan Partridge, Jackanackanory!
All was well until recently when we kept being told that our black cartridge was low on ink. We decided to leave it another week or so - as you do - before I looked into replacing it. I found out that a single black ink would cost me about £18 and, when you're struggling financially as we are, I thought that was a little bit steep. So I went looking for own brand versions and couldn't find any. But I did manage to find a bottle of ink which enables you to refill your own cartridges for a fraction of the price. So I bought it and refilled my cartridge as per the instructions. And guess what? It doesn't work.
My brief research into it has uncovered that (apparently) Lexmark have deliberately made this printer unusable with refilled cartridges of any kind - so that you HAVE to buy the official and expensive ones. I think this printer retailed at about £40 new - so about the same cost as replacing both the cartridges.
I know that a couple of people have reviewed this product and written very eloquently about its merits and flaws, but I was so cross at Lexmark's blatant exploitation of its customers that I felt compelled to write about my experiences with this machine.
I will be honest and say that I don't have any real issues with its printing abilities; if you're just printing out the occasional letter or essay, it will do it clearly and quickly. As I've already stated, it's wireless - which is a fantastic feature (though several people have reported to having problems setting this machine up wirelessly; I had problems, too. Don't ask me how I fixed it). The only negative point to it - well, apart from the cost of the ink cartridges - is that it feels a bit flimsy (my girlfriend broke the letter draw by accidentally knocking it. And my old Lexmark kept paper jamming after I dropped a Hula Hoop in it. A solitary potato crisp managed to ruin a printer). Other than that, it's great. So if I'm just judging this machine on its printing abilities, it would score very favourably.
But the thing is, you should consider the cost of replacement cartridges when you buy a printer, especially when the cartridges don't last very long. I realise that this review has mainly been about Lexmark and ink cartridges rather than the printer itself, but I just wanted to make sure people knew what they would get themselves in to if they bought this machine. Keep it away from refilled cartridges and Hula Hoops.
Moaning about the cost of replacement ink cartridges - what does that make me? Cheap. Like the printer.
In truth, I didn't actually by this printer. Instead, I received it from someone whom never used it and had no use for it as they have a printer. I am telling you this as I am reviewing it from the perspective of having no expectations. I have used this printer with Windows XP and Windows 7 both with the same experience.
- Overview -
This is a colour inkjet printer from Lexmark. It has wi-fi compatibility so you can print something from your computer or laptop wirelessly. If you use it wired, it connects through your USB port.
- Set up and ease of use -
To set up this printer, you may receive a disk with the software or you can download it from the website. You then follow the instructions on screen and everything should run smoothly. I have done this with two laptops now with no issues. Minus one.
Setting it up to use the printer wirelessly was a nightmare. I eventually got it set up but don't ask me how. It would recognise a wireless connection but just would not connect to it. I have found that other people have had issues connecting to the wireless. Now I am without a wireless connection so I use the supplied USB cable instead with no issues. If you are not bothered about using the wireless feature then I would suggest just using the USB. If you want a wireless printer then you may want to weigh up whether to buy a slightly more expensive one or if you want to spend time messing around with this one for the sake of buying something cheaper.
Apart from the issue regarding wireless printing, the printer is easy to use. You select that you want to print your document, something will pop up on your screen but once that has it should print. Would recommend it for its ease of use.
- Print Speed and Quality -
*Max Media Size: 216 x 432 mm
*Min Media Size: 100 mm x 150 mm
*Print Speed: Black draft - up to 24ppm. Colour draft - up to 18ppm. Black normal - up to 12ppm. Colour normal - 5ppm
*Max Resolution (black and white): 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi
*Max Resolution (Colour): 4800 dpi x 1200 dpi
My experience with print speed and quality has been quite positive. I mainly use the printer for printing coursework and journal articles so at times it getting used quite heavily and mostly black and white. The printing speed has remained consistently good and is fast for a printer of this price-range. As for quality, it is good. Pictures may not come up that well, but reasonably enough. I don't think I would like to use this printing photographs, but I have never used it as I don't tend to print my photographs myself. However, for printing documents (in black and white or colour) you can't go wrong with this printer.
- Appearance -
Dimensions: 45.9 cm x 19.9 cm x 12.1 cm
Weight: 2.61 kg
The printer feels quite wide, but it is still small enough to fit behind my desk out of the way. The white plastic is shiney and feels quite durable. The power button is easily located on the top. Though if you leave it plugged in you can see just how bright the light around the power button is. There is a feature on the front of the printer which shows if it detects any wi-fi signals, changing colour to show the status.
Overall, no bad points regarding the appearance. It looks good, the weight feels sturdy without being too heavy and still quite small.
- Ink -
You may be wondering why I have a section just for ink. However, I feel I should inform you before you buy this printer that it will not accept non-Lexmark ink cartridges or refilled cartridges. Lexmark cartridges are not the cheapest and while I have had good quality prints from them the ink doesn't last as long as I have experienced with other companies. I would take this into account when deciding to buy this printer.
There is also a common problem with the colour ink not working. Lexmark offer solutions in this scenario which should then work.
- System Requirements -
Microsoft 2000 or later (I use Windows 7) and Apple MacOS X 10.3.x or later (no experience)
- Overall -
The printer is easy to use, it prints fast and good quality documents. It looks good and fits well out of the way. I don't particularly have an issue with the difficulty setting up the wireless printing as I use the USB cable but it is an issue. The issue with the ink is a bit off putting and for that reason, if I were to be buying this printer I would consider perhaps something else in the price range.
You can find this printer for about £40-50, though it does seem to be difficult to track down online.
This printer is excellent once set-up. It prints quickly, efficiently and without problem on a iMac and a PC. It also comes with excellent software for the PC and is easy to set up via USB. However, when setting up this printer via Wi-fi using a iMac, it is a Nightmare!!
Firstly, the instruction book is useless and didn't cover the problems I encountered.
Secondly, the printer kept losing connection with the iMac, meaning i had to reset the wireless settings and set-up the whole thing again, and I still don't know why!!!
Thirdly, as it has no built in screen or the like, it was ridiculously hard to configure the printer when it lost connection with the iMac, as i had no way of communicating with the printer!!!
Apart from this, the printer is quite good for the money.
It's print quality is reasonable (you aren't going to be able to print photos etc. with it but perfectly good for documents, text etc.)
The print speed is quite good but sometimes, when your network server is busy (downloading things or the like) it can be quite sluggish, stopping half way through a print job for 30 seconds.
Its looks are great, especially next to an iMac (almost looks like an Apple printer). It's just a shame that there is a huge black power adaptor that sticks out the back of the printer!
Overall, this printer is fantastic for the money but you should only buy it with an iMac if you have someone with reasonable knowledge of computers. With a PC, it is fine for all users.
Printers, I must admit I rarely use them at home. But they're one of those gadgets I must have. When it comes to buying printers cheap and cheerful does me just fine. My photos get developed at the chemists, so no need for one of those snazzy photo printer things. And why splash out loads when all I'm printing is the occasional road map for a friend?
So anyway, the printer that came with my p.c decided it was time to breakdown. So off I went looking around for printers. I don't think the salesmen understood that all I wanted was a bog standard, cheap and cheerful printer. So with no luck in the shops I go and check out amazon.co.uk. After a quick search I came across the Lexmark Z1420. After a quick look at it's features and price I decided it was the printer for me.
The printer is Colour inkjet and it's also comes with Wi-Fi. For £42 a printer that's wireless was a good deal I thought. Obviously a £42 isn't going to be any good for office or heavy duty home printing, it's made for people like me who print a few things off every now and then.
I really do like the look of the printer. It's basic looks are great. Every printer I've owned in the past has been multicoloured, with lots of pointless curves and buttons that confuse you. This is printer is mainly white with odd patch of grey on it. There's no stupid curves and you get one button to turn it on. The button lights up to. On the front face of the printer is the Wi-Fi logo, it glows one colour for wireless printing and another for USB printing. On top there's your paper input tray, it's grey and folds down. And on the bottom there's your paper out put tray which is also grey and slides in and out. At the back of the printer there's the USB output. The printer holds 2 ink cartridges. One black and one colour. Both are very easy to access and stick in. You lift up the cover in the middle and away you go.
Installation of the printer is simple. You connect the printer to your computer via the USB cable. From there you can install USB printing or for Wi-Fi printing. I don't think you can set it up for running both of them.
Once it's all up and running, it's fairly simple to use. You get a few options. You can print out normal text documents or you can use the image studio. In the image studio you can look and print out your photos, make posters or greeting cards. Easy! The greeting cards aren't really that good. Functions are basic. You add a photo to the selected theme, you can't change the photo size or text size in this option. I printed off some very strange looking cards. What you have to remember is I'm not using this printer for fancy cards, I'm using it for printing out the odd text document.
The printer speed is pretty decent, 1 page document flew through. A 7 page document I printed out took about a minute. It did have a couple of images on it to. This may have slowed it down a little. The quality of prints in either black or colour aren't greatest you'll ever see. The text didn't look as crisp as it would have if I had used my works mega bucks printer. Pictures looked slightly dull and blurred. But I don't care. It prints and it's readable.
I personally like this printer because it's cheap and looks good. If I was someone who used my p.c for greeting cards or printing of pictures I'd hate it because of the limited options and poor quality. If you're like me and print text documents once in blue moon I'd suggest you buy it. I know you would probably find something cheaper to do that task, but this thing is wireless and looks unique. I love it.
Experience the convenience of printing wireless with the Z1420! Compatible with 802.11g/b, enjoy high-quality printing from virtually anywhere in your home over your secure wireless network. Print fast - up to 24 ppm black and 18 ppm color. Also, create brilliant photos with optional 6-color printing and professional quality text and graphics with up to 4800 dpi. Printer is designed to utilize your network's security (WEP, WPA and WPA2) and broadcast range.