Lexmark C780n review

16 Jan 2008

Top-notch print quality makes this a contender, but it isn't as fast as it looks.

Price when reviewed: 
549(£560 inc VAT)
5

If the Labs were a wrestling match, the Lexmark C780n would have taken the title in the first round. It's by far the biggest and heaviest laser in this group test - a real monster of a printer.

Given its gargantuan proportions, it isn't surprising to find a powerful print engine under the hood, with this month's highest quoted print speeds.

Alas, in our tests the Lexmark proved more Fiat Panda than Bugatti Veyron. Its speed in the 50-page colour letter test was this month's best, and it was only three seconds off first place in the mono test. But for complex graphics and photographs, it slowed down considerably, coming last in our DTP and photo-montage tests.

In our quality tests, though, things look up for the C780n, with consistently high scores in all departments. Colours are realistic, gradients are smooth and even, and text quality is good, too.

What's more, the C780n's LCD screen menu and simple system make it a breeze to set up manually, and the built-in web server contains plenty of useful information. Staff can monitor toner levels and paper remotely, for example, and also configure it to send out email alerts based on certain trigger conditions.

The feature list doesn't end there, either. The C780n can print on heavyweight paper, which means you could use it to produce your company's business cards. And you can also print documents and images directly from a thumb drive using the USB port on the front, although it's a disappointment that the price doesn't include a duplexer.

If you can live with that, though, the Lexmark is otherwise one of the most cost-effective colour printers here. Although the Epson's cartridges are cheaper, the Lexmark's more durable parts offset the greater toner cost.

Despite its clear strengths, this printer's relatively poor showing in the performance stakes will put it out of the running for many would-be purchasers. But if you don't mind waiting for your prints, the Lexmark C780n has a lot to recommend it.

Details

Price ex VAT £477
Price inc VAT £549
Performance 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5

Printer language & OS Support

PCL level 6
PostScript level 3

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 1200 x 1200dpi
Rated/quoted print speed 33PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 0.8p
Cost per A4 colour page 1.1p

Consumables

Monthly duty cycle 120,000 pages
Fuser life 200,000 pages
Transfer-belt life 120,000 pages
Standard mono toner life 6,000 pages
High-yield mono toner life 10,000 pages
Standard colour toner life 6,000
High-yield colour toner life 10,000 pages
Supplied mono toner life 6,000 pages
Supplied colour toner life 6,000

Power and noise

Dimensions 605 x 528 x 470mm (WDH)

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured) 40ppm
Colour print speed 27ppm

Media Handling

Input tray capacity 500 sheets
Output tray capacity 250 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? no
PictBridge port? yes
Other connections None

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no