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Yesterday I found myself in the unfortunate position of having a thirteen month old printer which sounded like a tractor and gave out stripey colours!
I had only recently been given five special photo quality ink cartridges. Obviously I don't want to waste them, so the printer has gone off to my son who assures me it can be fixed. He can't do it for a couple of weeks, so I decided I had better get a cheap and cheerful printer to tide us over. Actually, if you use your printer a lot a spare is a good idea!
So, off I went to PCWorld. I had heard they were doing some amazing deals. Obviously I did not want to spend much, as hopefully my really decent printer will, like the prodigal son, eventually return home.I don't think we will be killing the fatted calf however!
I steeled myself against the excellent Epson printers on special offer- no need for anything that good for a spare!
Then I saw just what I was looking for. It was a Lexmark Z23e priced at £28.99.I thought it would probably be a heap of rubbish, but on inspecting the spec I was somewhat surprised. It has 2400x1200 dpi and is supposedly photo quality. I tucked the box under my arm, without further ado and set off to put it through its paces!
The printer has a USB interface and this is supposed to make it really easy to install. It was a pain in the b**!I had to un-install and re-install the software three times before it married up with the hardware. Perhaps it was me- I often seem to have problems installing USB devices. Perhaps I should have stuck to a serial connection!
That apart, things began to look up. The printer is very neat and fairly small.I will give you the dimensions without the paper extension trays out:
Height: 5.1" Depth: 8.1" Width: 17.5"
You do need to allow room to use the paper guides though. Here are the dimensions with them extended:
Height: 12.3" Depth: 18.0" The width is obviously the same for both.
I am rather taken with the look of the printer. It is very smart and I must admit looks a lot tidier than my big photo printer, which is also a Lexmark.
The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. Even when my other one wasn't doing it's agricultural impersonations it was not as quiet. You can hardly hear it, well, until it speaks to you! Yes, it is a talking printer. It can be irritating, but I was used to having audio prompt on my other printer and it does come in handy to be told when your paper has jammed or your colour ink is running low.The noise level of this printer is 44dB. Not bad at all! We all have to watch our noise levels now, with the silly new noise directive from the EU! Here is a distracting silly but true fact for you: according to the new EU directive on noise, not only are our lawn mowers breaking the law, but it will be an offence for a full size symphony orchestra to play the last movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony. This is the movement with "Ode to Joy" in it. Ode to Joy is the anthem of the European union!! Have you ever heard such nonsense? I assume it will not be enforced?! Anyway, I have digressed- back to the point!
Now, about the ink; this printer has slots for two ink cartridges but can run with only the coloured cartridge attached to the left slot. You are only supplied with the colour cartridge but Lexmark say that you get a higher quality reproduction if you use the black as well. I had bought ink for my other printer earlier in the day and was amazed when I realised that one ink cartridge had only been £2 cheaper than this new printer!
The paper carrier takes 100 sheets of A4 ,10 envelopes,25 sheets of labels and a 20 sheet banner.It doesn't say whether all these sheets are for double or single bed!Whatever, it ouputs up to 50 sheets at a time. It will take any paper or card up to 150g in weight.
This isn't the fastest printer. Obviously it varies according to which of the four print qualities you pick, but the average is 9 pages per minute for black and white, and 5 pages for colour.
We tried an assortment of print jobs to test the printer and we were very impressed.The photos were very good and text was really crisp and clean. I was truly amazed at the quality in such an inexpensive machine.
The software is excellent and there is an ink level indicator which pops up while you are printing. Whenever you change a cartridge you "tell" the computer and it then keeps an accurate record of how much ink you have left. There is also a solution centre. In here you can find instructions on several topics:
How to use less ink How to print a photo How to do an envelope How to print a banner How to print an iron-on transfer
It also has all the paper and quality settings. This printer is simplicity itself to use.It is compatible with Mac,Linux and all Windows platforms and takes up approximately 20mb of disk space.
I have been very impressed with this printer. I was already impressed by Lexmark, but this is exceptional value. If you don't want to spend a lot, then here is your man!
As John said below - we bought exactly the same printer (in fact we bought 2 ! ) The only sting in the tail is the cost of replacement cartridges - but with the printers costing us less than the cartridge we will just keep on replacing them and selling them as nearly new at the car boot! Hope you're all well - Heather :)
shadylady999 30.04.2002 12:02
An accurate op, although I should warn you that my one of these printers has recently died after a year or so of having it... :( Leah