Lexmark's Z65 Color Inkjet

Prices have really come down on Lexmark during the past year, so if you're in need of an inexpensive, reliable printer to shoot out documents at an ultrafast pace, their Z series might be perfect for you. Once the setup process is complete, the Z65 is a breeze to use... the included driver software is more intuitive and easy to understand than that of other brands we've tried, presenting the user with just the right visual information at the right time.
The flagship Lexmark Z65 offers a host of innovative features enabling it to meet the demanding needs of small office/home office (SOHO) users and high-end consumers. Dual paper trays make it simple to print on a variety of media, such as glossy photo paper and transparencies. Lexmark's PrecisionSense technology automatically determines the type of stock in the front paper tray and adjusts the printer driver to optimize output. In addition, the Lexmark Z65 boasts best-in-class print speeds of up to 15 pages per minute (ppm) in color, and up to 21 ppm in black - making it ideal for high-volume users.
We had some difficulty configuring the printer for use with our Win2000 network, but other people we've spoken with have no such complaints. Blame it our excited staff? Maybe. The unit's installation manual is thin, to be sure, but how much information should one need to install a USB printer? Once configured, however, even our bumbling staff couldn't disrupt the ultra-fast Z65 thanks to the new and improved driver interface. Simply select what you want to print (photos, envelopes, banners, and so on) using the drop-down menu, and the printer makes the correct settings. Plus, you can manually change print quality and paper type or select n-up, monochrome, or two-sided printing.
As with most inkjets, printing thousands of pages will cost you more than they would with a monochrome laser, or a Canon inkjet with separate cartridges for each ink color; Lexmark rates the Z65's black cartridge ($30) for 600 pages (double-spaced text, judging by the skimpy 5-percent coverage cited), and its 3-color cartridge ($35) for 450 pages (with 15-percent coverage). If you're looking for long-term savings, the Z65 may not be for you. But for the home office user looking for occassional fast, quality printing, this series should suit you fine.

Still, for many users, speed means little if the output is mediocre. According to Lexmark, the Z65 touts 4800 dpi resolution in both black and color, while the Lexmark Z55 is capable of 3600 dpi resolution. These inkjets also feature a "three picoliter microfine color drop size, allowing for better color transitions and more detailed textures". In our experience, however, the Z65's plain-paper text was less than distinct, with occassional flecks around characters. With coated paper, text improved greatly, with crisp, clear, dark letters. Plain-paper graphics showed visible dots and horizontal banding, resembling a grainy photocopy; they improved marginally on coated paper. A full-color photo printed on Kodak's Premium Picture paper suffered from poor skin-tone reproduction and color matching.
All in all, the Z65 is a good buy. We hope that Lexmark will address t hese print-quality shortcomings in its newer models, such as the Z65p Photo Jetprinter. We're sure their prices will constinue to fall, and their quality will continue to improve.
Lexmark's Z-line of Color Jetprinters are available at most retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City, Comp USA, Costco, Kmart, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart, as well as from Dell (models may vary).

For more information go to http://www.lexmark.com/US/products/overview/0,1224,MzE0Nnwx,00.html

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