Lexmark Z1420 review: Lexmark Z1420

Inkjet printer performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Photo speed  
Text speed  
Lexmark Z1420
0.72 
6.68 
Canon Pixma iP1800
0.72 
5.82 
Canon Pixma iP1700
0.49 
5.8 
Epson Stylus C88*
0.4 
5 
Note: *The Epson Stylus C88's photo speed is for 8x10 prints. The rest of the printers were tested using 4x6 prints.

Unhappily, the speed comes at the expense of print quality. Both color and black text were beset by obvious flaws: nearly none of the characters showed clean edges, and italicized text looked shrouded by shadow. Color graphics didn't fare much better--colors were faded, even with a fresh ink cartridge; barcode-style graphics were rendered an unscannable blur, and everything was marred by faint, but obvious, horizontal bands and striations. The 4x6 photo prints showed decent color, but details should be sharper, and the entire image was distractingly grainy.

We realize this is a low-end $80 printer (with wireless, no less), so it's hard to judge print quality too harshly, but on the other hand, the $50 Canon Pixma iP1800 did a much better job with prints. If you only print the occasional directions and maps for yourself, the Z1420 is fine, but we don't think it's good enough for attractive holiday newsletters or other graphics-laden tasks.

Inkjet printer quality
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Photo  
Graphics  
Text  
Canon Pixma iP1800
Good 
Good 
Good 
Canon Pixma iP1700
Good 
Good 
Good 
Lexmark Z1420
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 
Epson Stylus C88
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 

Service and support
Lexmark backs the Z1420 with a one-year warranty. Free, toll-free phone support is available on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT for the length of the warranty. Lexmark's Web site includes a knowledge base, downloadable drivers, and a resource center to help get you started on new printing projects.

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