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I purchased the Lexmark E210 about 9 months ago now, packaged with a trial toner cartridge. After printing printed hundreds of pages over the 9 months, I am still using the trial toner. Considering the fact that a new toner cartridge costs about £65, this has to be a major plus point, and luckily a new one would (I hope) last for years. If you measure this against the two inkjet cartridges (colour and black-and-white) I use every year on my Hewlett Packard and Lexmark inkjet printers this is pretty good value (in terms of black and white printing anyway).
Another advantage the E210 has over the inkjets that I own is speed. The printer takes a one off 10/15 seconds to warm up, but once itĎs warm, the pages are printed in no time at all. With this printer you can expect a to print about 12-15 page per minute. An inkjet requires little or no start-up time, but page generation is often slow. The new generation of printers is faster, but donít always trust the ďpage-per-minuteĒ claim that the manufacturers make. They are frequently overstated, and are for the lowest-quality setting where there isnít a lot of ink-coverage per page.
The Lexmark offers a 600x600 resolution. Thatís pretty decent for a laser printer, but pales in comparison to the 4800x1200 offered by most inkjets. The 4800x1200 claim is, like the speed-claim, overrated.
The new 4800x1200 printers canít put 4800 drops of ink per inch. They can put a drop of ink in any of the 4800 spots. Thereís a subtle difference there. Even though the resolution claims are somewhat overstated, youíll get better quality out of an inkjet. But if you Ďre printing CVs, web pages, tax-returns, and so on, you wonít notice the difference. The text and graphics on the Lexmark E210 are sharp and crisp - I have absolutely no complaints.
Paper handling is another item that most people donít think about when buying a printer. The e210 has jam-detection, and will restart a job after a paper jam is detected. Weíve never had a paper jam (unlike the mangling Iíve seen some inkjet printers do), so I canít say how well this feature works. I would imagine that some sort of user-intervention is required.
The back of the printer has a USB interface, and a parallel port. This means you can hook it up to an older, pre-USB computer. No cable (USB or parallel) was included, however.
The printer control-panel is pretty basic. Unlike an inkjet, the printer wonít tell you how much ink is left in the cartridge. It hasnít got automatic paper-type detection (some inkjets have this), and it only has one paper source (usually only big, office-sized printers have multiple paper sources). You can change the print resolution from 300x300 to 600x600, can pick one of three darkness settings (light, normal and dark), do poster printing, and define the order of your output (reverse, normal, even-only, odd-only, etc).
The drivers were another issue. I had to reinstall the operating system after a hard-drive crash. I downloaded the latest drivers from Lexmark site, but couldnít get the printer to work. I tried it several times, uninstalling and re-installing. Finally, I went and dug out the CD that came with the printer and installed the (older) drivers from there. Suddenly, the printer was functional. Keep that driver CD. One should also note that there is no Mac, Windows 3.1, or DOS support for this printer, but there are drivers for Linux.
Paper can either be collected in a slot at the top of the printer, or it can come out the front of the printer. There is a plastic tongue at the paper source to keep your paper from drooping like a plant that you havenít watered in two months. And you can do watermarks, and overlays. All of this is pretty basic functionality, but Iím mentioning it just for completeness.
Probably the biggest downside to the printer is that it is black and white. Inkjets are all colour these days, and some even have separate cartridges for each colour. Use all the yellow, and you just replace the yellow cartridge. Thatís a lot more efficient that throwing out a bunch of unused ink with an all-in-one colour cartridge. If youíre printing a lot of photos, and so on, then this obviously isnít the printer for you. To be honest, however, Iíve never been able to print a photo that even came close to the quality of the demo photos they usually have hanging off the printers in the stores, regardless of what type of paper, etc, I use. And finally, as you may have guessed, this is a basic printer. There is no processor on board, and the printer doesnít have a built in network adapter (and you canít add an optional one).
The print-processor allows the processing of the print job to be offloaded from your computer to the printer. If the printer was capable of being networked, it means you could plug it into a hub, or switch; the printer would get itís own IP address, and you wouldnít have to plug it into the back of your computer. This means it would be shared across the network without having to fiddle with sharing, etc. Both of these features are found in higher-priced, business class printers and essentially this is really a home use printer. Overall I would say that this is a perfect laser printer for anyone who works from home or who owns their own business. I have found it to be a highly reliable printer that is cheap and easy to run. Most definitely recommended.
This printer is available from www.simply.co.uk for the great price of £63.
£63? Wow. I never realised laser had gotten so cheap. Cheers for that! Tom.
Suziwann 12.06.2004 01:46
I have a lexmark too and it was wonderful until it developed a mechanical fault - the lex X83. I found that when it was in operation you couldn't fault it. Software was faultless too.
good review. regards Joanne