Lexmark Boasts 15-ppm Ink Jet

SAN FRANCISCO (05/08/2000) - A color ink jet printer that ramps up the resolution to new heights is now shipping from Lexmark International Inc.

The top-of-the-line consumer ink jet printer, dubbed the Z52, carries a street price of about $180.

Lexmark representatives say the company has cranked up resolution for the Z52 to an astounding 2400 by 1200 dots per inch, and that it can print at full resolution on plain paper. That's the same resolution that high-end typesetting systems produce on film.

While 2400 dpi is unlikely to do much for ordinary paper, it may look great on glossy coated paper; PC World is still testing the Z52 and does not have final results.

Lexmark makes another astounding claim for the new printer: The company says it handles printing speeds of 15 pages per minute in black, and 7 ppm in color.

That's about half again as fast as Lexmark rates the Z52's predecessor, the Z51. It's also about twice as fast as vendor ratings for other ink jet printers on the PC World Top 10 Printers chart.

Can the Z52 live up to its performance claims? Again, testing is pending.

However, the challenge in its performance will be when printing ordinary documents at standard resolution. Lexmark, like most other printer vendors, specifies printer speeds based on very simple documents printed in draft mode.

PC World investigated the procedure and the real versus rated output in "The Paper Chase."

The unit adds some welcome capabilities, such as an optional $40 six-color ink cartridge that is designed to produce superior photographs. The Z52 has Universal Serial Bus support and drivers, so it can be used with Apple Macintosh systems.

Mechanically, the new printer resembles Lexmark's Z51, which currently ranks first on PC World's Top 10 Printers chart.

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