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Lexmark “penny-per-page printing” cuts inkjet black print costs by nearly 80%

Issue #0931/2 – More details have emerged since the publication of last week’s article (New Lexmark inkjet range looks very promising for homes and businesses) regarding Lexmark’s claim that “penny-per-page printing” is available on some of its new series of inkjet All-in-One devices. It turns out that the cost of black printing is even lower than a penny-per-page but it does rely on the user deliberately selecting a special ink cartridge.

Not that this is a problem! But, like for me, it may not be immediately obvious to many users that this cartridge exists, nor the significance of it – especially before purchasing the printer, which is the critical time when this type of information HAS to be available, obvious and clear. If it is not available, obvious and clear, the prospective Lexmark customer is very likely to give more attention to other brands because of Lexmark’s current poor reputation for reliability and high running costs.

At first glance, it looks as if the claim relates to the main XL cartridges that are available for the whole AiO range and, indeed, shipped with the Pro series. This is the #100XL Black.

However, this is not the case. There is also a #105XL cartridge – but only in black, no colour cartridges.

Lexmark 105XL cartridgeLexmark 105XL cartridge
for the new Prestige Pro805
and Platinum Pro905

In essence, the #105XL is exactly the same as the #100XL except for its price and the fact that it is keyed and chipped to prevent it being used in any but the two top of the range devices, Prestige Pro805 and Platinum Pro905. In addition, this cartridge is available only in a Return Program package – obliging the user to return the cartridge to Lexmark once it is empty.

Is that a problem? Well, not to the user, anyway! Considering the cartridge costs only a little over one-fifth of the price of the standard XL cartridge, most users with these machines should be glad to buy a Return Program cartridge. At last, this puts the Return Program into the clear arena of saving users money rather than penalising users for not using Return Program cartridges. In fact, many resellers do not even bother stocking the standard non-Return Program cartridges at all and some are not even stocking the #100XL RP cartridge.

Incredible – a cartridge with 510-page yield that would normally cost between £14.98 and £24.12 (inc. VAT) in retail outlets (yielding a CPP between 2.94 pence and 4.73 pence), can actually be bought for between £3.07 and £4.82 (yielding a CPP between 0.6 pence and 0.95 pence) – just by specifying the #105XL Return Program cartridge! This puts Lexmark’s mono inkjet printing directly at the cost level of a high-end laser MFP under contract – totally unheard of till now – and within the range of costs associated with printing black pages with the Hewlett-Packard No.88 black ink cartridge.

At £255/€319/$299 and £340/€399/$399 respectively, there will be few homes that will purchase these two high-end models. They are clearly aimed at business users and this reflects Lexmark’s declared strategy to target high volume printing environments – which means busy offices! The benefit for the business user is a saving on black printing costs that amounts to nearly 80%!

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