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Cutting the Cost of Ink

Category: Hardware Published on Tuesday, 23 March 2010

You Spoke, Lexmark Listened 

In the beginning, the tech gods invented inkjet printers, surveyed what they had done and pronounced them ready for their people. But there was a flaw.

The gods, expecting that their flock would purchase cheaper printers and spend tons of money for ink, became dismayed when people began replacing printers, rather than ink cartridges, to save money.

Angered - - - and faced with declining profit margins - - - they sought a solution.

Enter Lexmark, stage right, with their new Platinum and Prestige series printers.

I've been playing with the Platinum Pro 905 ($399), which, among other things, uses $4.99 black ink cartridges. The cartridges' projected yield is about 500 pages, but I've been able to double that using a slick new utility I'll tell y'all about later.

Admittedly I was, at first, a bit skeptical about the company's claim that I could print that many pages for half the cost of other ink cartridges. But, no longer.

The printer was fairly easy to set up and connect to my wireless network. All I did was follow the prompts on my screen. But, I did find a flaw, which the Lexmark tech support folks quickly fixed and later released as a firmware upgrade. This upgrade is now automatically downloaded to the printer during the installation process.

I discovered that the printer would lose its wireless connection after shutting down or going into hibernation mode, which became frustrating to say the least. This meant I had to reset the printer to its default settings and reboot it in order for the network to see it.

Fortunately, the quick response from the tech support team and their development of a firmware fix, anihilated the flaw and everything is now working perfectly.

Noteable features of the new printer include:

-- Two paper trays to handle different sizes and types of paper.
-- Separate CMYK ink cartridges. Lexmark was the last holdout, standing by tricolor cartridges until this new series of printers was developed.
-- This is a true all-in-one printer that can copy, scan, fax and email documents as well as print.
-- It defaults to two-sided printing, which saves on paper.
-- It can print from SD, MS, xD and MMC memory cards as well as USB memory devices without being connected to a computer.
-- It offers advanced business card scanning using software that is available for download from the Lexmark web site (but only through August and only availble for Windows users). The software automatically enters the information from the business cards into your address book.

Check out Lexmark's web site at for more detailed information.

Now for that neat little utility that will increase output from your ink cartridges.

A small, downloadable utility from PretonSaver can increase the output of your ink cartidges by up to 70 percent (according to the company's web site). I've been playing with it and, although it cuts down on the amount of ink used to print documents, I can see very little difference between printouts using this product and the default settings for my printer.

I'm not sure it will deliver on its claims to give me 70 percent more pages, but I can see it increasing my output by 25-to-30 percent, which is worth the $19.95 they want for a yearly license subscription. You can also purchase a lifetime license for $39.95 or a license for up to three computers for $47.99.

There is one caveat here, which has become pretty common with downloadable software: The product isn't compatible with 64-bit computer systems.

Check out the product at

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