For the past several weeks, I’ve been testing out two inkjets from
Lexmark, the Z65 and Z55. So far I’ve been fairly impressed, though there’s one thing that bugs me about the printers.
The US$199 Lexmark Z65 is targeted to small office/home office (SOHO) users and high-end consumers. With dual paper trays, it’s easy to be able 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., According to Lexmark, the Z65 can handle print speeds of up to 15 pages per minute (ppm) in color, and up to 21 ppm in black and white.
Both printers offer Accu-Feed Paper Handling that lets you choose from a wide range of print media up to 150-pound stock, including envelopes, transparencies, card stock, labels and iron-on transfers. I like the printer’s Automatic Cartridge Alignment and Automatic Paper Type Sensing. The former eliminates the need for manual alignment, as an optical sensor reads the alignment page and automatically updates the printer settings. With the latter, your printer automatically recognizes different paper types and adjusts the printer settings for optimal print quality. In both modes, the Lexmark Z65 touts 4800 dpi resolution.
I printed out some photos of my son’s basketball team, and the results were as good as many 35 mm prints I’ve seen when printed on glossy photo paper. The $129 Lexmark Z55’s results (with 3600 dpi resolution) also looked good. Personally, I’d spend the extra $70 bucks and get the Z65 (and its additional paper tray), unless I planned on printing nothing but text. And with either printer, text comes out crisp and sharp. Both my kids (in grades 7 and 10) have used the results for various school reports.
Both the Z65 and the Z55 feature a three-picoliter microfine color drop size, allowing for better color transitions and more detailed textures. Variable drop size enhances output quality. The three-picoliter drops are for highly detailed areas, while the 10-picoliter drops provide better fill in solid color areas. The printer driver automatically switches between the drop sizes. This shows up in the details of photos.
A detail, but perhaps an important one, is that both printers come in curvy, off-white designs that match up pretty nicely with the new iMac. My main complaint with the printers is that they make a terrible racket when starting a print job. The first time the Z65 “sucked” some paper from the paper tray to print out a photo, I thought the inkjet was going to explode. The noise quickly subsided and the rest of the print job went quietly.
Also, and unfortunately, the printers don’t ship with USB cables in the box; you’ll need to buy one for approximately $18.90. What does come in the box are (besides the printer): a User’s Guide & Setup Sheet, power supply, drivers CD (even for Mac OS X), color print cartridge, black print cartridge, and a “Customer Choice Software Offer” on the printer driver. Replacement cartridges are $34.99 for color and $29.99 for black.
The printers can be networked. To do so, you’ll need a $99.99 N 1 Network Adapter. Both the Z65 and Z55 run on Mac OS 8.6 on up, including Mac OS X.