capsule review

Lexmark Z735

At a Glance
  • Lexmark Z735 Color Inkjet Printer

    PCWorld Rating

    The price is enticingly low, but print quality and performance are disappointing.

Lexmark Z735
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Lexmark's $49 price tag for its Z735 sounds tempting, but you should think twice about it--even if it comes bundled as a freebee with a new PC. This printer uses a single cartridge containing just three colored inks (the usual cyan, magenta and yellow); in an unfortunate throwback to the early days of inkjet printing, it omits a black ink. Lexmark claims to have formulated the color inks so that they combine to yield "process black." But in our tests the Z735 produced some of the worst-looking text documents we remember seeing.

In our test samples, text looked very light and fuzzy. The smallest characters had a distinctly blue tint. Line art samples were much the same: vertical lines came out blue, horizontal lines were a faint gray, and thin lines were inaccurately formed. Narrow horizontal bands striped both our line art sample and our color graphics document, which looked pale and fuzzy, too. All three test documents earned a score of Poor.

Print quality improved on glossy photo paper: our grayscale photo earned a score of Fair, despite having a gritty texture and a strong olive-green cast. The Z735's strong point was its color photo quality. Though a bit grainy, glossy photos showed plenty of detail and vivid colors. Flesh tones seemed a little too tanned, however.

If you own a digital camera, you'll need to transfer your images to a PC before printing them: The Z735 lacks a PictBridge port and media slots.

Unlike several other Lexmark printers we've reviewed (such as the P915 photo printer), the Z35 doesn't compensate for poor quality with swift performance. In our tests, text pages printed at a dismal 2.1 pages per minute, while graphics documents emerged at a more reasonable 1.6 ppm; but our 5-by-7-inch color photo took 2 minutes and 51 seconds to print on letter-size glossy paper, far longer than the quickest time of 44 seconds.

The Z735 comes in a white-and-gray plastic case, with a top-mounted, upright, 100-sheet paper tray that doesn't feel terribly sturdy (it does fold up, however, so the printer is fairly compact when not in use).

The two-button control panel makes operating the Z735 a cinch. The power switch glows pleasantly blue when the printer is on--a touch that smacks of decadence compared to the unit's print quality and performance.

Slow speeds and unattractive prints make the Z735 a disappointment, though glossy photos are of acceptable quality.

Lexmark Z735


Rated 15 ppm text/15 ppm graphics, 4800-by-1200-dpi maximum resolution, 100 sheets input, 25 output.
$49
888/539-6275
www.lexmark.com

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The price is enticingly low, but print quality and performance are disappointing.

    Pros

    • Glossy photos are of acceptable quality
    • Fairly compact when not in use

    Cons

    • Slow speeds and unattractive prints
    • Uses a single tri-color catridge
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