Lexmark and Brother Duke it Out for Wireless Supremacy

Category: Hardware Published on Monday, 16 February 2009

Lexmark's New Printer: Look Ma, No Wires

Michael L. Berman's Blog
Feb. 13, 2009

If you have more than one computer on your wireless network and are bedazzled and befuddled as to how to share your printer among them, the new Lexmark X9575 Professional ($249) wireless printer may be the answer to your prayers.

I have two wireless printers on my home network - - - the other being a Brother 885CW ($229.99). Both were extremely easy to set up and had no problem detecting my network. A simple installation on each computer was all that was required to get all of them "talking" to both printers. Both also have multi-card readers that can handle all types of memory cards and large LCD displays. But that's where the similarity ends.

The Lexmark was able to out perform the Brother in almost every area, from tray and document feeder capacity, to print speed and depth of color. Although many of the differences are minimal - - - print speed for the Brother maxes out at 30 pages per minute compared with 33 pages for the Lexmark - - - others were major.


--- The document feeder on the Lexmark can hold 50 pages, where the Brother can only handle 10.

--- The paper tray on Lexmark can handle 150 pages compared to the brother's 100 sheets.

--- Color, especially for photographs, is much more vibrant using the Lexamark and Lexmark's Photo Inks.

--- The Lexmark can handle duplex, or two-sided, printing and the Brother can't.

But, there are a few features the Brother has that the Lexmark doesn't:

--- The Brother has separate ink cartridges for each major color, where the lexmark still relies on the older tri-color cartridge (which can end up costing you more money in the long run). Lexmark gets around this by saying their new "high yield" cartridges hold more than twice the ink of their old ones.

--- Both are multifunction printer - - - they can copy, scan and fax as well as print - - - but the Brother comes with a 5.8 gigahertz handset.

--- The Lexmark is a lot bigger (about twice the size) and more fragile than the Brother, which may be a consideration if you're cramped for space.

Although I prefer the X9575, I did have one major problem with it that I didn't have with the Brother. The ribbon that controls the ink cartridges decided to malfunction after only a few weeks of use, slamming them into the side of the printer. The problem is supposedly easily fixed by gently "flicking" the ribbon a few times. But, I can attest that becoming over aggressive in your "flicking" can cause further problems.

Fortunately, Lexmark has a one-day replacement policy (which Brother doesn't), which aided in cutting down on the angst and the migraines caused by being without a printer for an extended period.

Check out the Brother and Lexmark Web sites for more information.

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