If the idea of approaching the office printer fills you with foreboding, you'll appreciate Lexmark's effort to make colour laser printing as painless as possible with its powerful, blisteringly fast C522n.

Despite its high-end features and specifications the Lexmark is remarkably easy to use, thanks to an intuitive interface. It's also reasonable priced and quite economical to run, as long as you stick to the high-yield replacement toner cartridges.

The C552n can cope well with demanding users thanks to the 312MHz processor, 128MB of memory as standard, and impressive speed in mono and colour.

While we couldn't reach the quoted 20ppm (pages per minute), we did clock a rapid 17ppm in mono and 14.5ppm in colour on draft mode. We were particularly impressed by the fact that draft-mode quality was much better than a lot of the competition, and not that far off best mode.

We also tried printing a full-bleed A4 image on high quality. This slowed the first page to 40 seconds, but thereafter, pages came out in seven-second intervals: not bad at all. Text was crisp on all quality settings and the C522n knocked out draft text pages every four seconds. That's fast.

This model is the network version, but all in this range connect with USB 2.0. You'll have to buy a cable, though. Installation is simple and the printer will even prompt you if you haven't removed all the internal packaging.

Our only bone of contention regarded the input tray. If you set it to A4 the tray extends out at the back of the printer and looks vulnerable.

Lexmark C522n: Specs

  • Max res 1,200x1,200dpi/4,800dpi interpolated
  • quoted print speed B=20ppm C=20ppm
  • actual print speed B=17ppm C=14.5ppm
  • 312MHz processor
  • 128MB installed/640MB maximum memory
  • 250-page input tray
  • 250-page output tray
  • toner cartridge life (pages) B= 8,000 C=5,000
  • toner cartridge cost B=£117 C=£112
  • 440x408x484mm
  • 26kg
  • Max res 1,200x1,200dpi/4,800dpi interpolated
  • quoted print speed B=20ppm C=20ppm
  • actual print speed B=17ppm C=14.5ppm
  • 312MHz processor
  • 128MB installed/640MB maximum memory
  • 250-page input tray
  • 250-page output tray
  • toner cartridge life (pages) B= 8,000 C=5,000
  • toner cartridge cost B=£117 C=£112
  • 440x408x484mm
  • 26kg

OUR VERDICT

A great entry from Lexmark that exceeded our expectations. We didn't think draft-mode printing would look so good or come out so quickly, and the C552n is surprisingly good value for money.

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