Lexmark C734dn

The C734dn earned top marks in just about every area and low scores in none

Pros: Best-looking text in review, great color, fast printing
Cons: Large LCD screen is underutilized
Color Accuracy: A
Color Speed: A
B&W Speed: A
Features: A-
Value: A
Government Price: $903

GCN Lab Reviewers Choice small logoThe Lexmark C734dn is a perfect example of what a color printer can do. With a government price of just $904 ($1,114 retail), it’s worth every penny and can handle all office tasks.

When the speed cranked up, it could fly though pages. It finished our 30-page text document in 1 minute, 6 seconds, which tied for the best time. But it did even better with our 30-page graphical test file, printing it out in 1 minute, 36 seconds –- a time that left almost everyone else in the dust. Even if you send the C734dn a complex file to print, it will crunch right through it without difficulty.

Products in this review:

When color matches quality and price
Brother HL-4070CDW
Epson B 500DN
Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CP3525x
Panasonic KX MC6040
Xerox Phaser 6280

The color it produced was extremely accurate and vibrant. Photos looked amazing, even when printed onto plain paper. Even colored text looked great, with reds and blues and even yellows and greens closely matched to their color-wheel counterparts.

One of the test files that we use to sniff out the detail printing capabilities of printers is an animé-like space scene taken from a print. There is a blue planet in the background set against the backdrop of space, which is also blue but much darker. The true test is how well printers can reproduce the line of the planet curving against the background. Most printers blur it into space or define the line so well that the subtleness of the image is lost. But the C734dn reproduced it perfectly, so that our test image looked almost identical to the professional print.

There are not many flaws with this printer. The paper tray had a few flyaways, which could easily be remedied by adding a side bump to the paper output area. Although the C734dn has a generous LCD screen, it’s underutilized. Adding important information to the display, such as the name of the current print job and the page number the unit is working on, would truly make the C734dn a star.

The Lexmark C734dn is the top all-around performer in this review. Coupled with a great government price, it’s the reliable and accurate color printer that most people will want to see in their agencies. It earns a Reviewer’s Choice for this roundup.

Lexmark International, 800-539-6275, www.lexmark.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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