Lexmark C510 Color Laser Printer

Lexmark C510 Color Laser Printer
Price: $599 – $1,100 (US)

If you print an average of 20 items a day on your inkjet printer, it is probably time for your to save some time and money and move on to a laser printer. Unlike an ink-jet printer, a laser printer does not use ink, but rather toner. They also print, on average, much faster than an ink-jet printer.

Lexmark introduced the C510 full-color laser printer to much fanfare, and I for one was especially looking forward to seeing what the printer could do. After a month of use for this review, I must say I am impressed.

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For started, this is a full-color laser printer, meaning you can use it to print out very good looking color prints from either a standard color Word or Excel document, as well as an high-resolution PostScript file. Yes, the C510 has PostScript 3 Emulation. I printed many PS files directly to the printer, using CMYK and RGB images, as well as checking for Pantone color accuracy. All test showed that the C510 did an admirable job of accurate print color, good enough for a mock-up, but not 100% color accurate.

The price, at under $700(US) is an amazing figure. A four-color laser printer with PS, network, and duplex capabilities for under a grand is amazing. Add $300 to the cost and you have yourself an amazing network printer as well.

For this review, I used the C510n model, which is the networkable built-in Ethernet 10/100 option. Setting up the printer for network use was fast and easy, which is a time saver for small business that simply want a networked printer to work without all the fuss of complicated setup steps usually associated with network printers. Out of the box, the printer saw my network and was ready to go.

Print quality, the most important factor in any buyers’ decision when purchasing a printer, was fantastic. The C510 prints very quickly, even full color prints. It’s consumable usage is not too extreme, though similar Xerox I have used unit, though much more costly, uses much less consumables. Does the initial, sub-$1,000 price tag offset the expensive consumables? I would have to say yes.

I was surprised when, after unpacking the heavy crate the C510 arrived in, to find that the printer weighed as much as it does. Coming in at just fewer than seventy pounds, the C510 is one heavy printer. It is not a large printer, and as a sturdy guy, I figured I would be able to move it around without much of a problem. I did, but it was far from simple. This is seventy pounds of awkward, dead weight.

Set-up was simple. The C510 uses four different CMYK color toner cartridges, which are installed by opening the front of the printer and simply sliding them in their color-matching slot. As a person who has changed many a toner cartridges in the past, I can honestly say this was of the easiest printer to change the toner cartridges I have ever used. The waste bottle also was simple.

Besides the expensive replacement toner cartridges, my biggest gripe with the C510 would have to be the level of noise it makes, not just in operation but the warming-up period as well. Imagine two hair-dryers on high, and you start to get the volume of noise the C510 puts out. Warm-up time was fast, comparing it to other units I have used in the past, but the noise level was too loud. Thankfully, with the network option, you can put the printer in another, unoccupied room rather than in your office or cubicle. The unit does have a power-saver mode, which puts the printer in hibernation unit you send a print-job to it, so that alleviates much of the noise. However, if you are printing enough documents to warrant the purchase of a laser printer, be aware that the noise level will be an issue if you keep this printer close to your working area.

Add-ons for the C510 include 530-page paper draw that fits underneath the included 250-page drawer. An automatic duplexer, which I did not have for review, is also an option. Both are pricy add-ons, but perhaps well worth it if you are in need of those features. Lexmark also offers wireless printing with an 802.11b wireless adapter for under $200.

Some of the long-term costs include:
$99 per toner cartridge. That is $400 a pop for all-new cartridges.
Photodeveloper cartridge will also set you back $212, and are rated at around 10,000 color pages.
Waste toner bottle, which fills up as you use the printer. Those cost less than ten-bucks.
Fuser unit, costing $240 or less. The fuser is listed for 50,000 prints.

No laser printer can escape those costs, however, so don’t feel that Lexmark is simply putting the screws to its buyers. These are costs associated with any laser printer purchase, so be aware that if you print often, it will cost you.

What was distressing, however, is that Lexmark ships the C510 with toner cartridges that are only half full. I thought perhaps this was simply a shipping error, but I have read the same thing in other reviews of this printer. This forces the buyer to purchase new toner cartridges before they should need to. I feel this is a cheap and tasteless tactic on Lexmark’s part, and they should be called on it. Shame!

All the controls for the menu are located atop the C510. The easy to read LCD display is very intuitive, and even a novice will not have too hard a time navigating the various controls.

The specs:
Print Resolution, Black 2400 Image Quality: Color 2400 Image Quality

Print Speed (letter, black) Up to 30 pages per minute: (letter, color) Up to 8 pages per minute
Processor 500 MHz

Memory base model, standard 64 MB
Memory base model, maximum 320 MB
Expandable Memory Options Yes

Apple Macintosh Operating Systems Supported Apple Mac OS X

Paper Handling Configuration (Standard) 250-Sheet Input Tray 250-Sheet Output Bin

Paper Handling Configuration (Optional) 530-Sheet Drawer Duplex Unit

Media Sizes, Supported A4 (8.27″ x 11.7″ or 210mm x 297mm) A5 (5.83″ x 8.27″ or 148mm x 210mm) Executive (7.25″ x 10.5″ or 184mm x 267mm) Folio (8.5″ x 13″ or 216mm x 330mm) JIS-B5 (7.17″ x 10.12″ or 182mm x 257mm) Legal (8.5″ x 14″ or 216mm x 355mm) Letter (8.5″ x 11″ or 216mm x 279mm) B5 Envelope (6.93″ x 9.84″ or 176mm x 250mm) C5 Envelope (6.38″ x 9.02″ or 162mm x 229mm) DL Envelope (4.33″ x 8.66″ or 110mm x 220mm) 9 Envelope (3.875″ x 8.9″ or 98.4mm x 225.4 mm) 10 Envelope (4.125″ x 9.5″ or 105mm x 241mm) Universal

Media Types, Supported Card Stock Envelopes Glossy paper Labels Plain Paper Transparencies Refer to the Card Stock & Label Guide
Standard Ports USB Compatible with USB 2.0 Specification Centronics IEEE 1284 Bidirectional Parallel One Internal Card Slot

Network Connectivity Using an Optional MarkNet Print Server

Printer Languages (Standard) PCL 6 Emulation PDF V1.2, 1.3 PostScript 3 Emulation

Size (base model), Height 15.2 inches, Width 19.5 inches, Depth 16.5 inches
Weight (base model) 67 lbs.

Warranty One-Year LexOnSiteSM Extended Warranty Options Available

In the Box Color Printer Starter Toner Cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) Photodeveloper, Waste Toner Bottle Quick Reference Clear Jams Quick Reference Setup Guide Publications CD with Online User’s Guide Drivers, MarkVision and Utilities CD Power Cord

I like this unit. I am constantly amazed at the price of technology going down (unlike, for instance, gasoline prices) but I never would have expected such a high-quality laser printer to fall under the $700 (US) price range.

This is an exceptional printer, even with the costly add-ons and high noise level. Price per print may be higher than other laser printers, but the initial cost of the C510 more than offset it from its competitors.

MyMac Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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