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Lexmark Z1300 Inkjet Printer

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Lexmark Z845 Inkjet Printer

    PCWorld Rating

If nothing else, Lexmark's Z1300 inkjet printer is extremely inexpensive. On the other hand, it's minimally equipped and pretty slow, and its inks are among the most expensive available. Because its photo quality on special paper is so good, however, it could be an affordable way to print photos (but only at low volume).

The Z1300 is as simple as its plain, white shell indicates. Its input tray unfolds from the top, its output tray slides out from the bottom, and its included tricolor cartridge lodges into a bay underneath its front panel. It also has a bay for a black-ink cartridge, but that ink will cost you extra. Though it has no control panel, you'll find plenty of help in Lexmark's bundled software, including an attractively designed driver and a centralized interface for documentation, troubleshooting, and how-to information. Lexmark's Imaging Studio software lets you view and edit photos.

Photos are, in fact, this printer's strong point. They came out very slowly in PC World tests--ranging from 0.5 pages per minute (ppm) to 1.1 ppm, depending on the document type--but they looked bright, natural, and only slightly rough on photo paper. Photos appeared grainy and faded on plain paper, however. Plain text printed at a good, 8.4-ppm clip and looked sufficiently black but a little fuzzy. Scroll down to the Printers section of our How We Test primer for more information on these tests.

The money you save on the Z1300 will eventually go to Lexmark anyway, because ink costs are very high: You pay 4 cents for a half-page of black text, and 13 cents for a page covered lightly with cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. At press time, the color cartridge cost as much as the printer itself. A full-page photo will use a lot more ink, of course, and the special paper this printer needs for the best output will also cost you dearly. Users who print just a few photos at a time might not feel the pinch for a little while, and might not mind waiting extra time for a print or two to come out. Anyone who prints a lot, however, should find a faster printer with more economical inks--for example, the Canon Pixma iP3500.

--Melissa Riofrio

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Z1300's photo printing is its best attribute, but the ink is too pricey for high-volume users.

    Pros

    • Extremely inexpensive; good photo output

    Cons

    • Very slow printing graphics; pricey inks
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