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Lexmark C543dn

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£55.95 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk marketplace See more offers
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      23.04.2011 12:13
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      A good printer for family or small business use.

      My husband started running his own business last year, and although we already had a black and white laser printer which is incredibly useful, we decided a few months ago that a colour laser printer would offer us better value for money as we could print all our own stationary and posters as well as regular letters and things.

      Now most of our printing lives we've used Hewlett Packard, so a move away from them to Lexmark is a change for us, and I have to say it's not a bad one. This printer was the one we chose for a variety of reasons. Firstly it's quite a small footprint for a colour laser printer and is only 40x42cm and 29cm tall. This means that it sits on a pedestal filing cabinet we have quite comfortably. The second reason we chose this over several others we looked at was because it came with ink cartridges that were full rather than the part filled 'beginner' cartridges that many printers come with. The third reason was price. We got this in a sale online and it cost us a lot less than it should have done because of this making it a really good bargain. We paid £142.80 and they normally retail around £250-£300. (The cheapest I can see it now is from Printerland where we got ours and it's still a tenner more now than it was then).

      The print resolution on this is 1200x1200dpi for black and 1200x600dpi for colour which is plenty good enough for us. It has a 100 sheet output bin, and a 250 sheet input bin, integrated duplex, single page feed if you want it, and can be set up as a networked printer (the D stands for Duplex and the N networkable on the Lexmark range of printers - they also do some which have W in the name and these can be used in wireless mode but we didn't go for one with that facility). It's not super light, but it's not going to be carried around so at 21kg it's reasonable for what you're buying. It also came with a 1 year on site business warranty.

      Although the printer IS primarily used for business purposes, it's been very useful to me to be able to print various other bits on it such as band posters (hubby is in a rock band, and my mum and step dad are in a brass band) too.

      I know there are some people who are probably very technically minded who would be able to describe the differences between print quality on 1200dpi and 600, but I'll be honest, I'm not really one of them. I can obviously see the difference between rubbish and decent quality, and I think this offers pretty good print quality. It's clear, the colours are good and strong and representative of what I see on screen. It can cope well with fine lines, shading and also with bold block colouring, and we've had no problems at all with the print quality in the months we've had this.

      It takes a little while to warm up and prepare itself when you first turn it on, but once there, the speed of printing is much better than I expected, and waaay better than on some printers I've encountered over the years, and although I'll be honest I don't know exactly how fast it is, I've never felt like I'm being kept waiting by it when doing print runs, though I've seen some reviews talk of this being a bit slow for colour we've not noticed it.

      Changing the cartridges is quite simple too, you've a little lever to push and they just pop out, certainly not the faff it is in some machines. We've not had to do any other maintainance on it yet, so I can't really comment on that side of things, but the prices of parts don't look to expensive which was another factor in buying it.

      Overall, I think both myself and hubby are very pleased with our purchase and it's doing a good job of printing everything we need it to. It may not be up to the specification of some of the really fancy printers, but for under £150 we think it does the biz pretty darn well.

      June 2012
      I'm adding some extra information at the moment because we have just bought a new colour printer, and are in the process of replacing this printer entirely. The reason is that although a very good printer in many ways, we've found in the time we've had it, that it's been very ink hungry and we've had to replace the toner cartridges far more frequently than we had thought we would have to based on what other reviews told us.

      The strange thing with this printer was that we didn't notice how ink hungry it was to begin with due to doing a lot of colour printing. While we were printing lots of colour documents and things like posters etc. we were quite accepting that we'd be replacing ink rather frequently. When we had a quiet period where we were mostly using it for mailings that were 95% black with just the odd bit of colour in a logo, we started getting a bit concerned as when you print in just black with this printer, it STILL uses colour inks! We found that the cyan and magenta in particular were going down considerably when printing just black text. We talked to the manufacturer and they said yes this is normal. We asked them why and they couldn't really give us much of an explanation for it other than it makes the black a deeper colour, and no there was no way of turning this 'feature' off.

      For this reason, combined with the fact that due to the way Lexmark chip their printers it's only possible to use Lexmarks own toners with this, we were finding ourselves spending £70 per cartridge all too frequently and decided it was time to look to a different brand. We've opted to return to HP and have gone back to using a combination of an older HP Black Laser printer we had tucked away, and a newer colour HP inkject that we've recently bought and which I'll review soon.

      I have downgraded my star rating on this printer, from a 4 to a 3 for this reason and hope this info benefits someone as this is a printer which is very much still on the market at the moment.

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