Color Lasers Get Affordable
The Lexmark C522n gives small offices ample features for a budget price of $499. It supports both PCL and PostScript. The vertical paper path, with stacked toner cartridges that are easily accessed from a fold-down front door, gives the printer a small footprint.
The main paper drawer holds up to 250 sheets of plain paper, up to legal size. A slot on the front allows you to feed different media a single sheet at a time. For $299, you can add a 500-sheet paper drawer. You can't add a duplexer, however.
This laser printer provides good performance for the price. In our tests the C522n printed text at an above-average 14.3 ppm and color graphics at a healthy 3.8 ppm.
Text quality was good overall, though some letters looked shaved off at the top. Fine italics appeared spotty, but bold characters were distinct. Color graphics printed too light and grainy, but had good shadow detail. Glossy photos showed the same washed-out look and a dithering pattern.
At the time of this writing, Lexmark hadn't set the price for the C522n's replacement toner cartridges. Lexmark ships the printer with 1500-page starter cartridges.