Support software, supplied on CD, includes a well laid-out driver, which offers support for page collation, multiple pages per sheet, watermarks and control of duplex print, which is standard on the E260DN. There's also a network support applet, so you can access printer status from any machine running it. Both PCL 6 and PostScript Level 3 are provided in emulation, and there are drivers available for Windows 2000 upwards, Mac from OS 9 onwards, and several species of Linux.
Is this fiddly wire really necessary? Er... no
Lexmark claims a speed of 33ppm for this machine, but it's hard to see how it arrives at this figure. We started testing with a standard, five-page text document and timed, as always, from clicking OK in the Print dialog, to the last page arriving in the output tray. This takes account of processing time, as well as physical printing and is a more practical measure, as you can't do anything with a document until the printer has finished producing it.
The five-page test completed in 19 seconds, equivalent to 15.8ppm - less than half the stated figure. Running a 20-page document, where processing time is a smaller proportion of the complete print, increased the measured speed to 20ppm, but this is still less than two-thirds of the spec sheet figure.
When we switched to draft mode, a trick most printer manufacturers use to produce their headline speeds, there wasn't much of an improvement. The 20-page test, which completed in a minute in normal mode, only speeded up by five seconds when we printed in draft, giving a draft mode speed of just under 22ppm.
The only way we can see Lexmark could reach 33ppm is printing pages with very little text on them, not typical of most office documents. Printing a five-page text and graphics document took 16 seconds, or 18.8ppm - slightly faster than the all-text pages.
Printing the 20-page document in duplex mode produced a speed of 7.5ppm or 15 sides per minute. It’s very unusual for duplex print to take only a third longer than single-sided output and this is a pretty good result for a machine costing under £200.
A couple of points on your comment. The fact that you and Anthony have experienced excessive toner use on two Lexmark printers (which sound, from your descriptions, as if they may well be using the same colour engine) doesn't mean you can extrapolate to other machines in the range and to mono lasers, such as the one reviewed here. Secondly, to lay it at Lexmark's door, you'd need to show that other makes of printer don't show similar extravagant use printing the same document set. It could be some other factor which is causing this excessive usage.
I have no particularly love of Lexmark, but have used a mono laser printer of theirs along with others from Brother, HP and Xerox, printing a variety of different document types, for over 10 years without any signs of undue toner use. I'm just one customer, as are you. If this kind of toner use were commonplace, I'd expect knowledge of it to have filtered through the customer base very quickly.
@ Simon Williams
We were already aware of how yields are determined. Their better printers keep track of percent coverage per page and per cartridge, this can be compared against the ISO test pages and is shown to be accurate. It is definitely not why we (our business, I can't speak for Anthony's use) ran out. I would expect Anthony also realizes that if pages had 100% color on them (which is what it would take, 3000/600 = 5X the expected 5% coverage, with 4 cartridges. 5 x 5 x 4 = 100% coverage to empty them all by the 600 page mark, that they wouldn't last very long and wouldn't have made the remark.
Quite simply, our business printing wasn't using much color, used substantially LESS color per color page than the ISO test page. The printer dumped the toner into the recycling bin at an alarming rate, not onto the pages which looked fine. You are describing a normal situation and we are telling you about an abnormal one that has robbed us of hundreds of dollars worth of toner, as well as all the down-time trying to get some resolution.
The page yields quoted by Lexmark are from tests run to ISO/IEC 19752, the international standard for page yield tests of laser printers and multifunctions. It uses a standard set of page images, which may not match yours for coverage. This is why you may get fewer pages than the spec sheet suggests. However, if every manufacturer quotes figures produced from the same test regime, they should all be 'off' by the same amount. Not really one you can level at Lexmark, alone.