There are two key factors all printers are measured on: print quality and print price. The E260DN produces high quality black print. Text is clean, almost like dry print, and densely black. The printer's default resolution is 1200dpi, but even when you switch to draft mode you get 600dpi, which is more than adequate for internal documents and could be set as the default by many folk.
Greyscale graphics are also reproduced better than average, with good differentiation between different colour equivalents. There's some slight banding in large areas of greyscale fill, but generally graphic output is more than acceptable.
Not as fast as claimed
When you get to photographic output - never a particular strong point of a mono laser, to be fair - there’s some irregularity across the sky of our test print and some shadow detail has merged to black, but foreground detail is good and reproduction is generally reasonable.
Running costs come down to the 3500-page toner cartridge, which at internet prices comes in at around £85. The drum unit, which is good for 30,000 pages, will set you back around £32. Doing the maths gives a cost per page of 2.6p. Compared with other mono lasers in the same price bracket, this is on the high side. For comparison, the £170 OKI B410d has a page cost of around 1.7p and the £175 Kyocera Mita FS-1300D will cost you just over 1p per page, using the same calculation parameters.
If you can find consumables cheaper than we found, your costs will go drop accordingly, of course, but you're unlikely to get down to the levels of these rival printers. And if you buy consumables at the 'official' price, your running costs will be even higher.
This is a good, general-purpose mono laser printer, with surprisingly fast duplex and a useful draft print mode. It's not as quick as Lexmark would have you believe, but still has a decent turn of speed. Running costs, while not as good as some of its competition, are not excessive. ®
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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.
Join the club Anthony, ours was the next larger model Lexmark color laser and did about the same thing, emptied the larger color carts in under 600 pages with barely any color on them. Ironically enough it also achieved nowhere near it's rated speed. I'm sure there's something good about it but "doorstop" wasn't what I had in mind.
"Old PCs work just as well and all that is needed is a network card from some "junk" shop and a bit of OS tweaking !!"
I know - it just happens that the NAS box that I'm using at home has print server capability as well. Keeps a well used and reliable printer going whilst at the same time freeing up a USB port on my main machine.
"Unless one is re-writing War and Peace in Klingon, WTF does one need a very powerful, high speed laser printer for anyway ??"
We do - since we do our advertising brochures and training materials in-house we have a couple of seriously powerful colour lasers, one of which will also handle stuff like collation and binding. Running costs for these things are surprisingly good - works out at around a penny a page for mono printing and around 2.5p/page for colour (factoring in the fact that we use glossy paper for brochures etc.). For more general printing we've got a couple of HP4500s which are still going strong after Ghod knows how long.