Lexmark Unveils High-Volume Business Printers

Tuesday Oct 12th 2010 by Alex Goldman
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Lexmark's new line of business printers are designed for SMBs with high print volume needs, and features include touch screens, power saving, and faster color printing.

Lexmark today unveiled a dozen new printers in several product lines. For small businesses, the most significant new products include the C792 series color laser printers and the larger and more expensive C925de color LED printer.

"We have embraced the SMB market for some time and have a lot of products offering mono and color printing that a smaller workgroup or small business would choose to use. We have a well-rounded portfolio," Tina Caster, manager of color products for Lexmark, told Small Business Computing.

Lexmark claims a 40 percent increase in color printing speed for the new the new business printers, and that they deliver color pages as fast as they can deliver black and white.

Powerful Small Business Printers

These small business printers incorporate features previously available only in Lexmark's top-end printers, according to Eric Calvert, Lexmark product marketing manager. They have a 4.3-inch color touch screen and a front USB port that, along with the touch screen, can be used to print directly from a USB thumb drive without needing to connect a PC. Every printer now has an alphanumeric keypad in addition to the touch screen, making data entry even easier.

Calvert highlighted what he called a "gas gauge" on the side of the paper trays that lets you see how full each paper tray is. The gauge is similar to a cell phone battery indicator -- when it goes down to one bar, recharge it.

The C792 series business printers print letter-size (A4) only, making these printers relatively small. They're designed to deliver 50 pages per minute (ppm), and they're clearly targeted at businesses that handle a high volume of printing. Pricing starts at $1,349.

Compared to the previous-generation C782 printers, the C792 series prints more pages from the same quantity of toner and also prints faster. The C792s look different, and although you might not care about the look, Lexmark thinks you'll be happy that the new printers take up less space.

The higher-end C925de can print both letter (A4) and legal (A3) size paper, and it's designed to output 30 ppm. The C925de is an LED printer, not a laser printer, and pricing starts at $2,399.

Like all Lexmark printers with a "d" in the model number, the C925de features duplex printing (printing on both sides of the paper). Lexmark touts duplex printing as an environmental feature: print on both sides, and you'll use half as much paper. The printer can print an "eco report" showing how much paper you saved using duplex printing.

The C925de should be able to print anything your small business requires with an optional flexible media tray capable of handling paper up to 11.7 by 48 -inches.

The C925de comes with a hard disk drive (that's what the "e" in the model name represents). Hard disks allow printers to store print jobs (and fonts too), speeding up the printing of very large files. The current hard disk is 160 GB in size, but Calvert said that Lexmark will in the future include a larger hard disk as manufacturers are regularly increasing the capacity of hard disks without raising prices.

Key Business Printer Features

Lexmark offers a feature that the company calls "Automatic Named Color Replacement," designed for companies that have a color logo. If you have a corporate color (the red diamond in the Lexmark logo, for example, is Pantone 485C), then the printer will store that exact combination of colors it needs to use to achieve exactly that color shade.

Lexmark has updated its power conservation features to include both a sleep mode and a hibernate mode. "Hibernate mode uses less than 1 watt of power," said Susan Swieterman, Lexmark product marketing manager. "It's almost like turning the machine off, and is a new power mode."

An instant warm-up fuser improves sleep mode by making startup from sleep extremely fast, she added, making users more likely to want to use the sleep mode feature.

Alex Goldman is a contributing writer at SmallBusinessComputing.com.

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