Lexmark's home inkjets are the epitome of easy-to-install easy-to-use printers. It might be wise, then, for Lexmark's business laser division to go and have a look at how they do it, since this new laser multifunction device, the Lexmark X502n, proves rather tricky to set up. This is mostly down to the Lexmark's insistence on using pictures rather than words. To be fair, an experienced user should be able to get the Lexmark X502n installed, but it's debatable how much use the instructions will be.

It's also a shame that the instructions don't give you more information on using the Lexmark X502n itself, for this is actually a printer packed with plenty of features - many of which you'll come across only through experimentation. From the Lexmark X502n's no-nonsense exterior and considerable weight (this is the one the heavier sub-£500 lasers we've seen), the Lexmark X502n gives the impression of being a printer of substance rather than style. The Lexmark X502n can hold 250 pages of paper as standard, although an optional 530-page tray stretches this to a far more impressive 780 pages in all. Besides print, scan and copy functions, you also get fax capabilities, and the latter is enhanced through the inclusion of the 35-sheet Automatic Document Feeder.

Bewildering instructions aside, the Lexmark X502n is a strong performer. The print resolution of 1,200x600dpi makes for crisp dark text that can be pumped out at a rate of more than 20 pages per minute - even at the highest quality. Colour, inevitably, is rather slower, although you can still expect somewhere in the region of 5.5-6 pages per minute. When we ran off our first load of colour prints with the Lexmark X502n, the results seemed perhaps a touch too colourful. However, the pages faded slightly and, a short while later, the output looked first-class. The Lexmark X502n's scanning capabilities are also extremely good, with the Lexmark X502n producing clean and realistic reproductions of our images.

Lexmark X502n: Specs

  • Maximum resolution 1,200x600dpi
  • Installed RAM 128MB
  • Max RAM 128MB
  • Quoted print speed B=31ppm C=8ppm
  • Actual print speed B=20.9ppm C=5.9ppm
  • Supported interface types USB 2.0
  • Fast Ethernet
  • Standard paper input 250 sheets
  • (wxdxh) 482x437x534mm
  • 35kg
  • Toner costs B=£95 C=£85 x 3
  • Print life (pages) B=5,000 C=3,000 x 3
  • 1-year onsite warranty
  • Maximum resolution 1,200x600dpi
  • Installed RAM 128MB
  • Max RAM 128MB
  • Quoted print speed B=31ppm C=8ppm
  • Actual print speed B=20.9ppm C=5.9ppm
  • Supported interface types USB 2.0
  • Fast Ethernet
  • Standard paper input 250 sheets
  • (wxdxh) 482x437x534mm
  • 35kg
  • Toner costs B=£95 C=£85 x 3
  • Print life (pages) B=5,000 C=3,000 x 3
  • 1-year onsite warranty

OUR VERDICT

If you like a little experimentation, you'll find the Lexmark X502n has more than enough ability and class to make excellent work of your printing, scanning and faxing. However, the Lexmark X502n's documentation is poor and, for the inexperienced, there have to be better options available. That's a shame since, with better instructions, the Lexmark X502n could have been fantastic rather than potentially fantastic.

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