The printer is one of many to use Lexmark's newest Vizix individual ink cartridges--one pigment black for printing text and three dye-based yellow, cyan, and magenta cartridges for color prints. Using the $5 105XL cartridges, we calculate the cost of a black page of ink to cost 1 cent, and 3 cents per page of color. Business users who print a large volume of black text and graphics will be happy to see such a low cost for black ink, even cheaper than the Officejet Pro 8500's 1.6 cents per page. On the other hand, the 8500 can handle 5,000 more prints per month with a 15,000-page duty cycle before it needs time to cool down.
The Platinum Pro 905 ships with minimal documentation to conserve paper, and you can access most of the instructions, warranty information, and promotional offers on the CD included in the box. Along with the drivers that support Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X, the CD also gives you an onscreen progress bar that automatically pops up when you print. It shows you the progress of your job in an easy-to-read percentage bar (the LCD on the control panel also shows the progress), displays a graphic representation of your ink depletion and a warning when the paper trays are running low. A similar message also shows up on the MyTouch screen and you can even see exactly what page the printer is working on at a quick glance.
There's no doubt that the Lexmark Platinum Pro 905 is one of the fastest printers in the industry right now, but for $400, it really should be the fastest. That award still goes to the $399 HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless that prints at almost twice the speed with the exception of the single-sheet photo speed test, which the same time as the Pro 905 at 1.39 pages per minute. Don't be fooled by the sorting in the graph--take a closer look and you can see that even the Epson Artisan 800 beats out the Platinum Pro 905 in four out of the five tests as well. We aren't dissatisfied with the results of this printer, but the competition exceeded our expectations whereas Lexmark only delivers average speeds.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed||Photo speed (1 Sheet)||Color graphics speed||Text speed|
We maintain a similar opinion about the Platinum Pro 905's print quality. The black text prints aren't lacking at all, in fact, they are close to the laser quality that we've come to expect from Lexmark. The black lines appear rich with a slight hint of wicking that creates a blurred image, but such imperfections are acceptable with inkjet printers. On the other hand, the color graphics test sheet and photo snapshot just don't compare against the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless. While the HP's photos look consistently sharp, the Lexmark suffers from jagged edges and smearing that ultimately create an inferior snapshot, not to mention that the color photos look inferior compared with the original. Businesses that aren't in the business of printing photos won't be disappointed with the Platinum Pro 905's print quality, but creative professionals and photographers will find a superior investment in the Officejet 8500.
Service and support
Lexmark covers the Platinum Pro 905 with a generous five-year warranty that includes lifetime priority phone support. The warranty will also transfer ownership in case you want to sell the printer within the five years. In addition, the Lexmark Web site's AnswerBase provides a comprehensive list of FAQs, how-tos, dockets with device specifications, warranty extension information, and driver updates. Users having trouble with the printer can contact technical support via live chat or e-mail (according to Lexmark, it responds to questions within one business day) from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Finally, Lexmark also offers customer service training in both their printers and general computing at designated authorized locations. Online courses are also available.
Find out more about how we test printers.