Lexmark C935dn

For full bleed A3+ printing the Lexmark's C935dn makes its presence felt in more ways than one.

Print quality is generally good. Text is densely black, with no visible spatter, though there is an odd 'flattening' on the tops and sides of rounded characters, like 'e's and 'o's. This happens regardless of font and in both capitals and lower-case. It's not pronounced enough to cause problems in general use and could be a result of A4 pages being printed sideways, going through the printer in landscape mode.

Colours are bright and ideal for business graphics. They're also reasonably good for photo reproduction. Although you lose some subtlety, due to the smaller gamut of laser toner compared with liquid ink, the results we produced are good enough for, for example, proofing page layouts.

The toner cartridges are rated at 24,000, five per cent pages for colour and 38,000 for black, though the machine is supplied with 12,000 and 13,000-page consumables. This practice, by no means confined to Lexmark, of including half-full toner cartridges, approaches a scam. It's done to lower the asking price of the printer and to get customers buying supplies more quickly after purchase.

Using the higher capacity consumables, at the cheapest prices we could find for Lexmark originals, gives a cost of 0.5p for a 5 per cent black page and 3.3p for a 20 per cent colour one. These figures are good for a printer in this class, but will of course vary, if you print predominantly A3 pages, or use a higher print coverage.

The C935dn is a heavy printer - at 92kg, a definite three or even four person lift, if you're to keep within Health and Safety guidelines. Not that you'll be wanting to move it around much, given its size - if you need to, it would be best to invest in one of the optional cabinet stands, with heavy duty casters.

There are versions with a single cupboard, with an extra paper tray or with three more paper trays, each of which can hold a further 520 sheets. There's also a 2,520-sheet high-capacity feeder stand which can take 520 sheets of a variety of paper sizes, plus 2,000 sheets of A4. This is a pretty comprehensive set of paper handling accessories, but there are also sheet and booklet finishers, which can handle stapling, hole punching and saddle stapling of booklets.

Verdict

This A3+ colour laser has consumables which go the distance, is quite quick, particularly when printing duplex, and can be expanded from workgroup to near departmental status. Versatile and reasonable quality print make it a good proofing tool and its competitive pricing completes an attractive package.

DPI: 2,400dpi 'image quality', 45ppm A3+ printer

Paper handling: 520 + 100-sheet paper trays

Duty Cycle: 200,000 page one-off monthly

Ports: Direct print USB, USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet

Languages: PCL6 and PostScript L3 drivers

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