Lexmark C540n review

27 Nov 2009

Fast, top-quality prints, good running costs and a competitive price make the Lexmark our new favourite colour laser printer

Lexmark C540n
Price when reviewed: 
207inc VAT
Buy it now for 
5

The C540n is the best printer for small workgroups we've seen. Not only is the cost of the unit bearable at less than £200 before VAT, but it’s also network capable, quick, and offers excellent quality.

Workgroup features run throughout the printer. The paper tray, for instance, has the joint highest capacity on test at 250 pages, and the single-pass engine means sheets need to run through its cavernous interior only once, no matter whether they’re printed in full colour or black and white. It’s a major part of the reason we’re recommending it.

The Lexmark hovered at a steady 20ppm in all our tests. The only time we saw a significantly slower speed was with our 24-page DTP document, whose complexities resulted in a 5ppm drop in speed. Still, at 15ppm for this demanding document, the Lexmark remains a very fast machine for the money.

It also produced decent quality. Text looked elegant, and it was superb when printing business documents. Colours appeared as they should and text on a coloured background – always tricky for cheap laser printers – looked great.

With all that power, it doesn’t come as a shock that the Lexmark is a on the expensive side to run initially. But after a few thousand pages those costs will remain lower than cheaper printers. These costs will be higher, incidentally, if you intend to print on the C540n from an Apple computer – Lexmark’s driver currently doesn’t support monochrome-only printing.

But that problem aside, the Lexmark is incredibly fast and produces great quality prints. It’s also network-ready, well built and reasonably thrifty. The huge 250-page paper tray means you can set it up and leave it, and the initial pain of buying it is less than with more expensive printers. The Lexmark is our well-deserved Recommended award.

Details

Price ex VAT £180
Price inc VAT £207
Performance 6
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5
Speed rating 6

Printer language & OS Support

PCL level 6
PostScript level 3

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 1200 x 1200dpi
Rated/quoted print speed 21PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Consumables

Monthly duty cycle 35,000 pages
Drum life N/A
Fuser life N/A
Transfer-belt life N/A
Standard mono toner life 1,000 pages
High-yield mono toner life 2,500 pages
Standard colour toner life 1,000
High-yield colour toner life 2,000 pages
Supplied mono toner life 2,500 pages
Supplied colour toner life 2,000

Power and noise

Peak noise level 47.0dB(A)
Dimensions 424 x 400 x 292mm (WDH)

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured) 20ppm
Colour print speed 20ppm

Media Handling

Input tray capacity 251 sheets
Output tray capacity 100 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? no
PictBridge port? no
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
Other operating system support Novell Netware, Novell Open Enterprise Server, Sun Solaris SPARC, Sun Solaris x86, HP-UX, IBM AIX, Linux (various)

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