Lexmark – X500n review

colour laser multifunction printer
Photo of Lexmark – X500n
£307

This is a colour, laser-based multi-function device intended for the small office or workgroup, and is priced at a very reasonable level. It’s a substantial device, so much so that the A4 flatbed scanner, complete with its Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), doesn’t overhang the printer section (as is usually the case with such machines).

Paper feeds from a surprisingly low capacity 250-sheet paper tray – though a second, 530-sheet tray is available as an option – and there’s no multi-purpose feed for special media, like envelopes.

Controls are straightforward and a 16-character, two-line display gives good feedback, thought it has an oddly coloured background. Lexmark provides good support software, with Presto! PageManager and Abbyy FineReader for document management and OCR respectively.

The X500n is rated at 31ppm and 8ppm for mono and colour pages respectively, but under test we saw 14ppm and 6ppm. The real-life colour speed is therefore less than half the rated speed, though large variations are not uncommon in the printer market, where quoted speeds relate more to the print engine itself than the entire print process. A colour copy took 40 seconds from the flatbed and was slightly quicker, at 31 seconds, from the ADF. A colour photo print completed in a better-than-average 24 seconds.

Print quality from the machine depends on what you’re printing. Black text prints well; clean and without noticeable toner spatter. Colour graphics are also dense and well defined, though there’s slight mis-registration when printing text over colour. Colour photocopies lose quite a bit of the colour of original prints and areas of solid colour can look patchy.

The consumables regime is none too straightforward. There are four separate toner cartridges, which slide in one above the other from the front, a waste toner bottle which slots in to the right of the toners and a developer unit, which drops into the machine from the top of the printer section, once you’ve hinged the scanner out of the way.

All the consumables have different page yields, so toner needs replacing every 3,000 pages for colour and 5,000 for black (both in high yield versions), the toner waste bottle will be full after 30,000 pages, the fuser spent after 60,000 pages and the photo developer is unlikely to last more than 120,000. Whether this miscellany of different parts will prove irritating to maintain depends on how many pages you print per month.

Working out all the prices and yields gives running costs of approximately 3p for mono and 11p for colour pages, neither of which is particularly impressive.

Company: Lexmark

Contact: 08704 440044


Verdict
This is a low-cost colour laser all-in-one, but a few obvious corners have been cut to reach the price. The lack of a multi-purpose feed, the complicated consumables set-up and the relatively high page costs detract from the overall value proposition. For mono and colour text work, though, the X500n produces quality print.