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Lexmark Z845 review: Lexmark Z845

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The print quality was far from the best we've seen, but again, given the $50 price tag, we're not surprised or terribly disappointed, either. The text doesn't reach the deep black we prefer, and the characters aren't remotely smooth, but overall, the text print is serviceable for printing directions from the Internet or the online article you want to stash away.

Surprisingly, the Z845 turned out a better color graphics print than text print. The color blocks were nicely saturated, gradients were smooth, and it handled bar code graphics better than some of the more expensive machines we've seen. The photo elements were on the ruddy side and looked a bit faded, but overall, the quality was quite surprising for a $50 printer.

Finally, the 4x6 color photographs were not of a quality that you'd want to frame and display on your mantel, but again, they were serviceable. The details could use some sharpening, the colors were a bit washed-out, and we noticed some graininess in flesh tones, but again, you can't expect perfection from a $50 printer. On the other hand, the $50 Canon Pixma iP1700 provides all-around better print quality, though no improvement on text print speeds.

CNET Labs' multifunction printer quality
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Photo  
Graphics on inkjet paper  
Text on inkjet paper  
Canon Pixma iP1700
Good 
Good 
Good 
Canon Pixma MP180
Fair 
Excellent 
Fair 
Lexmark Z845
Fair 
Good 
Fair 
Epson Stylus C88
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 
HP OfficeJet 4315
Fair 
Poor 
Fair 

Service and support
Lexmark backs the Z845 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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