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Lexmark C543DN colour laser
Fast replacement for your inkjet printer?
Selecting the printer’s duplex function, which halves paper costs whenever it’s used, brings the speed down, so the 20-side black text test produced a speed of just 9ppm. The more convoluted paper path needed for duplexing and the need to reverse the paper flow is bound to cause some reduction in print speed, but here there's an obvious pause between the completion of the first side of each sheet and start of the second, one of the main factors in the slower throughput.
Duplex printing possible
Printed output from the C543DN is definite. Black text is sharp, crisp and jet black, and suffers very little from toner spatter or other unwanted artefacts. Colours for business graphics are bright and vivid, but this isn't always an advantage, as they can swamp the text designed to overlay them. Blues and greens tend to come out darker than their on-screen equivalents, though this can be compensated for, and there are some slight registration problems with black text over colour.
Our test photo print, always a challenge for colour laser printers, did well on the smoothness of colour changes and the detail in both well-lit and shadowed areas of the image. However, colours were again too bright for natural reproduction and there was some noticeable haloing around the edges of objects with a light background. A ridge of mountains against a blue sky, for example, produced a light blue fringe, that wasn't in the original image.
The optional tray coverts a single-sheet multi-purpose feed to 100 sheets
Lexmark quotes a noise level of 47dBA for the C543DN, which would be pretty quiet for a printing laser. In fact, we measured peaks, mainly when feeding paper, around 10dBA higher than this, which is quite noisy, but on a par with other machines of a similar type. As a workgroup printer, it would be better to have it on a printer stand or an unused desk than to lumber somebody with it as a network resource.
The Lexmark C543DN is a solid laser printer for a small office or workgroup, with the advantage of duplex print to save paper. Its new colour laser engine works well, though colours can be over-saturated. Speeds are generally reasonable, but running costs are, for now, high. ®
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