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When I bought my Lexmark Z55 it was £69.99 from Comet. There was a test print, which showed the print quality was fine for what we wanted - namely printing photos, and the occasional letter.
The printer is very simple, and doesn't have a lot of hi-tech gadgetry and functions, which I count as a plus point - I cannot bear to buy equipment with a lot of functions which I will never understand, let alone actually use!
The printer itself is fairly large, but not overly so - it's about 43cm wide, 18cm tall and 23cm deep when it's little flap at the top of the paper feed-in trough is closed, and the paper outlet shelf is pushed in - when it's ready to print, you need to allow an extra 15cm at the top and 15cm at the front. The lift-up flap at the top which you rest your paper on when it's waiting to be printed is an ideal dust-cover when lowered, so if the printer is standing unused for a few days, dust doesn't easily get inside it - a great idea for me, as I hate dusting in awkward places!
When we bought the printer, we weren't forewarned by the sales assistant that the USB cable wasn't included in the box - my hubby was only told this when he went back to ask for it. USB cables aren't expensive, about £5, but it does add to the cost of the printer so bear it in mind should you decide to purchase one. It does come with both black and colour ink cartridges though - a real bonus, as you'll see in a minute.
Once you have the cable, it is incredibly easy to set the printer up for use - just plug one end of the USB cable to the printer, and the other end to a spare port on your computer, and pop the driver disc (included in the box this time!) into your drive. Follow the on-screen instructions, and it quickly takes you through the installation process, including a test print. After that you will be taken to the Lexmark Z55 Solution Centre on-screen. This is all included on the disc, and is where you can see what type of paper is loaded as the printer automatically detects if it's glossy photo paper, ordinary printer paper, matt paper etc. It also tells you the current ink levels in both the ink cartridges, so you'll never have to guess as to when to purchase a new one.
Other tabs in the Solution Centre let you choose what to print (settings for Envelopes, Photos, and Banners are included, also an option to print on both sides of a sheet, and how to speed up the print or increase the print quality. There is a Troubleshooting option, as well as Maintenance to clean up blurry edges, horizontal streaks etc, and shows you how to install a new ink cartridge and gives online shopping options for purchase of them. There's a contact page for contacting Lexmark by phone or online, arranged by query type. The last section is Advanced, for configuring networking options and downloading the latest drivers - recommended, as drivers for this type of equipment seem to date rather fast.
The printer's automatic paper-detection function serves two purposes, first to avoid the hassle of manually selecting each time you need to print something, and two because it sets the amount of ink to use. More ink is needed to print on plain paper as it is more porous (absorbent) than glossy photo paper.
All that technical stuff above is, in my experience, rarely needed though. I have never had trouble with the print quality of the Lexmark Z55, haven't had to use the troubleshooting or maintenence sections at all, or the advanced one. I simply click "print" on a document, put the right sort of paper in the printer, and it does it all in very little time.
The print quality is, I feel, excellent for a printer in this price range. Photos come out clear with very little pixellation, and letters and the kids' pictures also come out very sharp - no blurry edges or anything like that.
So, if it's that good, why only a four-star rating? Well, there had to be a catch, didn't there? Her it is - the ink cartridges. The colour one need replacing very often, and I don't really print THAT many photos. They are also very expensive. The cheapest I have found them is £30.99, and I think that was Curry's. Bearing in mind that the whole printer only cost £70, that's almost half again for the colour cartridge. The black ink cartridge is almost as bad at around £27.99.
In conclusion, I'd say that the Lexmark Z55 is ideal for those who want a simple but effective printer with no frills but plenty of value.
A superb op...sounds like a great deal...Chris xxx
Sally3 16.12.2003 14:20
They always get you with the cartridges, don't they? Good op..I had a Lexmark before the HP that I have now, and it was pretty good. I did manage to find cheaper cartridges from WHSmith - they did the equivalent in their own brands and were about half the price. Salx