I bought this laser printer 2-3 years ago to replace an inkjet printer, thinking that in the long run, the printer would cost less due to decreased toner cartridge costs. It doesn't seem like it. The toner is expensive (running about fifty bucks per replacement) and doesn't seem to last as long as it is advertised to last for. I am tired of replacing the cartridges. What is really extremely frustrating is that if I should run out of one color cartridge toner (be it the cyan, the magenta, or the yellow), the printer WILL NOT print even if I select the 100% black and white printing option. So even if I have black ink available, the stupid printer will not print. So if you do decide to get this printer, my advice would be to always have your color toner replacements on hand, unless you have a reliable back-up printer that can allow you to wait for your color toner to arrive in the mail.
Fast shipping, thanks. Easy setup after getting all the blue bits out. Setup instantly on Windows, OS X and Linux without driver hassle.
The reviews of this printer made it sound like it was the ultimate answer. And it might be, if it worked. But after the first few pages, it generally didn't work without a lot of coaxing and sometimes not even then. "Paper jam" is its favorite excuse, but it has other reasons not to work. It consumes (expensive) ink at a prodigious rate. I just don't need a printer that can't be relied on when I need it most.
This is a fairly good printer if you want to load the tray with plain paper and print from the tray, and nothing more complex than that. It prints reliably and with good results. The duplexing works great on regular paper.
But... if you want to do anything unusual it's not the best. Special papers, manual feed, etc are all very difficult on this printer.
The manual feed is a single-sheet loader, so you have to send print jobs one page at a time or it will take the first sheet from the loader and the next from the tray. Furthermore, it will not accept a second sheet until the first one has fully printed and the printer has gone through the cool off routine about ten seconds later. It takes FOREVER. The loader is also difficult to use, it only has feed tabs at the edges so it's hard to get the paper positioned flat enough for it to feed in properly.
It will handle single-sided jobs on cardstock from the normal tray or manual feed, but not in duplexing mode. When it stashes away the paper to flip sides it gets stuck. You also have to open the back sometimes because it has a hard time making the cornder to come out to the output stacker.
*** That all said... here's the kicker: The toner cartridges cost $80 for regular yield, and more than $100 for high yield, PER COLOR and they're good for 500 sheets of text if you're lucky (FAR less than that if you're printing images, logos, etc). You can not trust the 2500 page per cartridge estimate. The total page count on my printer is still less than 1000 pages, and I have replaced all of the cartridges at least once, some of them twice already. (I have printed mostly text and maybe ~250 pages of full color). It comes with full-duty cartridges instead of baby starters which is a near-miracle nowadays, but as a result it is literally cheaper to run the printer until the ink is gone, throw it away and buy a new printer. Oh, and this is one of those printers that tracks the toner cartridge by the electronic chip inside so once it thinks the cartridge is dead it will never print from it again. With many other printers, if there's still toner left, when it gets low you can rotate the cartridge and put it back in with good results until it's truly empty, but not with this printer).
Yes ink and toner is the biggest ripoff racket in the history of the industrial age, that's nothing new. But toner for this printer is, at minimum, twice as expensive per page as any other printer I've owned. And it's not plentiful on the market, so price competition and alternate sourcing (such as ebay) is limited. With a run-of-the-mill HP printer you're usually assured that cheap toner will be available, but not with this printer, it's too much of a fringe unit to generate that kind of alternate toner market.
In short: Great printer for plain old printing with no special needs, but ridiculously expensive to operate.
Like many people I was fed up with the high costs of consumables and even after purchasing a Kodak ESP 9 last year was still not impressed, the Kodak's ink might be cheap but they were very low volume. So I decided to take the plunge into Colour LaserJet's. I knew from previous experience and testing in my job that Dell Colour Laser's had a very quick and good quality output from the low budget printers.
I spent the week reviewing all the options from different manufacturer's. Many of them had either poor quality or very slow output or came with "Starter Cartridges" which mostly allowed you to print between 5-800pages before they would need replacing.
The next issue was Toner costs in some cases it worked out cheaper to replace the printer rather than toners, and if ever need a Imaging Drum forgot it.
I eventually narrowed it down to 2 printers the HP LaserJet and the Lexmark C543DN, the Lexmark was a clear winner. It came with a full set of toners(2000 page)units, and duplexing (double side printing) built in. Plus the Toners are about ?45 each and once you send back 10 to Lexmark they send you one free, but as a home user 10 toners is going to take a lifetime to get through.
I have printed photo's and text both are amazing. I am very pleased with my printer I paid ?162 for it (not from Amazon) and it's surpassed my expectations.
I also found out that Lexmark used to make all the Dell Colour Lasers, I'm not sure if they still do. Finally don't be put of if you have had a Lexmark inkjet and wasn't impressed this is a totally different business within Lexmark and produces some great machines.
I've probably only printed 2000 pages so far, so I can't speak about the long-term durability but so far this has been a really good printer for its price - with caveats.
I've printed a number of half-page color photos and full-page color Google maps and can't complain about the color printing, as low-end laser printers go. Color printing speed has been about right.
The duplex has worked fine, but as with many printers, you need to fan the paper and curl it to loosen it up before putting fresh paper in the tray - the instructions tell you so. If you skip this step, you may be asking for jambs. I always use good quality paper and fluff the paper and haven't had any jambs.
The envelope printing is a plus. There's slot for sizing and feeding in single envelopes and the printer waits until you press the button and it prints the envelope. My partner figured it out quickly and showed me how to do it.
Another good thing is that each color has its own roller and toner cartridge in a row so the paper path is pretty straight when going through the printer and it's super-easy to replace empty toner cartridges - from the side, even easier than most ink-jets I've used.
Lexmark has been somewhat known for locking down their cartridges and they prevent refills and other companies can't make cartridges for it - they won't work in the printer - so you have to buy from Lexmark and can't pursue cheaper printing costs. Since I bought my printer in late September 2010, it seems the price of a high-yield black cartridge is creeping upwards. First around $55.00, then around $60.00, and now around $63.00 (all the lowest prices I could find).
At $63.00 for a high-yield cartridge of 2500 pages it calculates to about 2.5 cents a page. Not terrible, and better than some other laser printers.
However, the cartridge rewards program they offer helps reduce overall costs and by adjusting the menu settings you can lighten up on the toner usage to save money. By using "draft" quality settings, I figure I'm spending less than 2 cents a page on black toner which is pretty good.
Also be sure to turn off the default full-color printing on the "Print Quality" tab in in the Printing Preferences menu by checking the "print in black and white" option. Otherwise it WILL use up expensive color cartridges even when printing black and white text. You'll have to bother with unchecking it each time you want color. Practically all color printers have this option buried in their menus somewhere. My per-page cost calculations are based on this setup for black and white, which is the primary use of MOST printers whether they be color printers or black and white only. I don't use color regularly enough to be able to figure costs for color-only.
The other caveat is: Never, ever lay this printer on its side, much less turn it over. It is fine when kept in an upright position, and most shipping companies appear to ship and deliver it upright. Some people unpack a heavy box like this by turning it over and sliding the box off the contents from the top. Don't do that with this printer
Lexmark made a packing error, in my opinion. It appears that they ship this printer already "charged" or "primed" with toner. I think I understand why they did this - to facilitate the easy side loading cartridges - but if the printer is ever laid on it's side during shipping, or worse, upside down, then toner may leak into the mechanics of the printer. This condition makes it possible for toner to get on the inside of the lens where it cannot be cleaned off. An obstruction on the lens means streaky printouts, depending on which of the 4 lenses gets dusted with toner. All other brands of lasers I've handled ship their cartridges sealed and you have to remove sealer strips to get them working.
As soon as you get this printer, run the internal printer test (from the printer's control panel) - the "test print " and check page 4 for streaks. If streaks appear, open up the side and pull the rollers out (it's easy, download the cleaning instructions from the support web site). Check for lose toner. You can wipe toner off of the bottom of the laser glass lens with a cloth, but then look at the glass lenses with a flashlight. If there's toner on the other side of the glass, that is the inside of the lens, then you will have the situation I found. There's no sane way to clean out toner that has gone so deep into the printer that it's on the other side of the glass lens - where you can't get to it. Streaks result. I had to take mine back to the store for an exchange and I told the clerk to be sure to keep the new one upright when he delivered it to me. The new one checked out perfect and it has been the quietest, fastest personal laser printer I've had so far.
It's really a shame that such a decent, quiet and easy to operate printer can be damaged by bad shipping and packing.
I would give it five stars if I could use cheaper third-party toner cartridges in it, and the fact it it must always be kept upright would almost make me drop it another star but it prints so well and is so easy to work with that I would recommend it anyway - just be sure to inspect it thoroughly as soon as you receive it.
I bought the Lexmark because of their hype about toner efficiency and low cost of printing. It has turned out to be a total toner hog - so much so that I took fastidious notes after my last black toner change. The cartridge lasted 5 weeks, declared itself 'low' after 481 copies (319blk,162color), and died after a total of 518 pages (347blk/171color). I do a few high color print outs but most of this is just normal office use.
And the cartridges are expensive - about double the price of ink jet.
Other factors are fine - print quality, speed, ease of use, but it is just draining my wallet.
I am going back to my HP ink jet, a little slower but I'd estimate a quarter of the operating cost.
I just installed a new Lexmark C543dn. The duplexer jammed on the fifth document I printed. Need I say more.
I've owned this printer for about 1.5 years now and for as little printing as I do it works well. I refuse to purchase another inkjet printer due to the waste and cost of ink as well as the water solubility of the printed pages.
For every day printing the C543dn is a nice printer, it wakes from sleep and spits out pages pretty quickly. It is slow when I send a 10MP photo to it, taking up to 3-5 minutes to print, but it is not a fast processor. I've used color lasers from Konica/Minolta that will print the same image in about 3 seconds, but then those printers cost $3,000 not $300.
Print quality of text and charts is superb, pictures are good but I prefer to print pictures on my Selphy, at least on a small scale.
The printer has an unexpected feature in the driver that I didn't see documented anywhere; its called Poster and it lets you expand anything you can print without any hassle up to 4x4 sheets. So if you send a picture from say iPhoto you can have the printer do all the work and make a 16 page poster of the image. You still need to trim off the white borders and glue up the segments, but it is sure a lot easier than opening a graphics app like Elements and doing all the work to blow up the image.
I use the duplex unit routinely, duplex is my default print setting and it has saved a lot of paper and never jammed.
If cost is an issue then I would purchase this printer again, I think it will be in service for at least another 5 years.
Quiet, quick, efficient, a nice color laser printer for the price and worlds beyond the Samsung printers I'd used in past at work.