The Lexmark C530dn's USP (unique selling point) is it offers duplex (double-sided) printing at a budget price. While all the other models here have duplex as an optional feature, this typically adds £100 to the price.

On the whole, build quality has suffered in order to meet the Lexmark C530dn's budget price tag. The exception to this is an online help system built into the printer. Physically, many parts are worryingly flimsy - even more so once the insides are exposed. Driver installation was ragged; the process appeared to hang, and when it finished we were left with two copies of the driver, despite religiously following the instructions.

Our worries about the Lexmark C530dn's performance proved well-founded; it suffered more jams and misfeeds than should affect a printer in this price bracket. The front sheet feeder - which uniquely takes one sheet only at a time - seems just as likely to produce a paper jam message as to grab a single sheet successfully.

Print speeds are paradoxical. A time-to-print of 1 min, 40 secs, is disappointing, and makes the Lexmark C530dn an unlikely choice for one-off single page colour print jobs. However, once up to speed, throughput was a solid 22ppm - almost as fast as the Oki C8800n. A driver issue is the obvious culprit, because the installed 128MB onboard memory should be adequate for colour printing. Monochrome print speeds are more convincing, with near-instant time-to-print and a speedy 25ppm.

Running costs are middle of the range, but the Lexmark C530dn's colour print quality is very poor. Our test results showed blotches of colour in areas that should have shown continuous colour, and a tendency to highlight Jpeg artefacts in colour photos.

See also:

Colour laser printer buying advice

Epson Aculaser C1100

HP 2700n

Konica Minolta Magicolor 2550

Oki C8800n

Xerox Phaser 6180

Lexmark C530dn: Specs

  • 2,400x600 hardware resolution
  • mono print speed quoted/actual = 22/25
  • colour print speed quoted/actual = 22/20
  • time to first print 1 minute, 42 seconds
  • standard paper input 250 + 100 sheets (max 550)
  • USB interface
  • ethernet
  • standard toner = £74, 3,000 pages, 2.5p per page
  • hi-cap toner = £64, 4,000 pages, 1.6p per page
  • 484x440x512mm
  • 25.9kg
  • 2,400x600 hardware resolution
  • mono print speed quoted/actual = 22/25
  • colour print speed quoted/actual = 22/20
  • time to first print 1 minute, 42 seconds
  • standard paper input 250 + 100 sheets (max 550)
  • USB interface
  • ethernet
  • standard toner = £74, 3,000 pages, 2.5p per page
  • hi-cap toner = £64, 4,000 pages, 1.6p per page
  • 484x440x512mm
  • 25.9kg

OUR VERDICT

With poor build quality and output overall, duplex printing on the Lexmark C530dn isn't quite the killer feature that it could be.

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