Word docs fly out of printer


  • Installation: 3.5
  • Print quality: 3
  • Documentation: 2
  • User friendliness: 3.5
  • Overall Rating: 3

When I first plugged in the Lexmark C520, it sounded like a rocket ship getting ready to blast off into space.

However, the technology inside the covers of the sleek-looking printer wasn’t quite as advanced as a rocket (and maybe that’s a good things since parts tend to fly off rocket ships at an alarming rate these days).

This colour laser printer is pretty good about spitting out Word documents and PDFs faster than you can get up from your desk to pick them up, but is a little slower when it comes to printing out PowerPoint presentations.

I recently reviewed a C520, and the first challenge was setting up the printer. This wasn’t time consuming or difficult, but it was a bit tiresome as the instructions on how to install the printer were black and white drawing with red arrows that supposedly point the way. However, all the drawings did was create confusion and make the task look a lot more complicated than it actually was. It’s the type of badly-constructed instruction manual that always make me want to run away from the task.

I decided to put the instructions aside and see if I couldn’t figure it out for myself. There were a number of pieces of plastic packaging material in the printer – what appeared to be a superfluous amount and every time I thought I’d removed them all, the printer would tell me otherwise. Once all of the packing material was removed, I turned it on, and, as I said, it sounded as though it was ready for blast off.

I connected it to my computer, put in the disk to install the driver and was up and running in no time. Word documents came sailing out of my printer, as did PDFs.

According to the specs of the C520 and its sister printer, the C522, it prints at up to 20 ppm and is as fast as 13 seconds to the first page. But such measures are generally meaningless to me – all I need to know is that I won’t have to wait around for the printer to get the pages out. By the time I walk over from my desk to the printer, I want the page to be there or at least to be printing. There’s no problem in this regard when it comes to Word documents and PDFs.

The same, however, cannot be said for PowerPoint presentations. It takes closer to 30 seconds for the first PowerPoint page (printed in colour) to come out, and then another 30 seconds or so for the second, and so on. It’s quite painful standing by the printer waiting for the pages to come out – each in its own time. This is especially true if you’re waiting for a long presentation to be printed out. And if you’re printing out a number of presentations to hand out at a meeting, you’d best go down to the local coffee shop and get a nice hot cup while you wait.

According to Lexmark, throwing memory at the printer can solve the problem, so anyone planning to print graphic-heavy presentations would be wise to upgrade from the standard 128MB of memory that comes with the printer.

Luckily, pictures don’t take much longer to print than Word docs and PDFs.

The quality, however, is also grainier than you’d expect – even when set at the highest quality. And the higher the quality setting, the longer it takes for the page to emerge.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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