GCN Lab Review | Lexmark C920n

NICE TOUCH: The Lexmark C920n has something we'd like to see more of: A front-side USB port

Pros: Fast in color and black and white, USB printing, security features, good color matching

Cons: A bit expensive

Price: $3,299

Print speed: A-

Color accuracy: A+

Features: A+

Value: B+

Although slightly more expensive than the average printer in this review, the C920n combines advanced features and top-notch quality to help justify the cost.

In terms of raw speed, the C920n was quick with both text and graphical documents. It was able to print our 30-page text document in one minute and nine seconds. For color printing, it crunched our 30-page complex graphics document in two minutes and three seconds. This helped it edge out the HP by a couple of seconds to take second place for speed.

The quality of the output, especially for color documents, was the best in the review. It even did a great job with difficult imaging tasks, such as laying down black text over a graphic. It was able to do this without showing any outlines around the letters even when looking at them using magnification. There was also a nice sheen over the graphics to make them appear as if they'd been printed on photo paper instead of standard office sheets.

Color accuracy was also nearly perfect. The C920n was able to reproduce several shades of blue, with each one very close to the other. The C920n handled this color stepping extremely well, with all colors looking accurate and no bleeding of one into another.
Standard text printing, although not the best in the review, was very good and easily readable for normal black letters. The C920n was the best at printing colored text, a testimony to its color accuracy.

In terms of features, the C920n brings some real innovation. There is a keypad on the front of the printer that can be used for the unit's secure print feature. Users can assign up to a 10-digit personal identification number that needs to be entered at the printer before a tagged document spits out. You can also set a document in the queue to expire after a certain amount of time, in case someone forgets to enter their PIN. That way a secure document won't be stuck in limbo forever.

There's also something neat that we expect to see on most printers in the future: a front-side USB port. Sitting near the keypad, the port provides easy access to files on USB drives. When you plug a USB drive into the port the printer lets you browse stored files and folders using the front LCD panel. You can select a file and print it without the need for a computer. We tested this feature with several key drives and the C920n recognized them all.

The C920n is a great printer that can fill many roles. Regardless of how you want to use it, expect high-quality, accurate color output and extremely quick performance.

Lexmark International, Lexington, Ky., (800) 539-6275, www.lexmark.com.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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