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Lexmark C780n review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 16 Jan 2008

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £477 (£549 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

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.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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