Lexmark C540n review

Price when reviewed

The C540n is the best printer for small workgroups we’ve seen. Not only is the cost of the unit bearable at less than £200 before VAT, but it’s also network capable, quick, and offers excellent quality.

Lexmark C540n review

Workgroup features run throughout the printer. The paper tray, for instance, has the joint highest capacity on test at 250 pages, and the single-pass engine means sheets need to run through its cavernous interior only once, no matter whether they’re printed in full colour or black and white. It’s a major part of the reason we’re recommending it.

The Lexmark hovered at a steady 20ppm in all our tests. The only time we saw a significantly slower speed was with our 24-page DTP document, whose complexities resulted in a 5ppm drop in speed. Still, at 15ppm for this demanding document, the Lexmark remains a very fast machine for the money.

It also produced decent quality. Text looked elegant, and it was superb when printing business documents. Colours appeared as they should and text on a coloured background – always tricky for cheap laser printers – looked great.

With all that power, it doesn’t come as a shock that the Lexmark is a on the expensive side to run initially. But after a few thousand pages those costs will remain lower than cheaper printers. These costs will be higher, incidentally, if you intend to print on the C540n from an Apple computer – Lexmark’s driver currently doesn’t support monochrome-only printing.

But that problem aside, the Lexmark is incredibly fast and produces great quality prints. It’s also network-ready, well built and reasonably thrifty. The huge 250-page paper tray means you can set it up and leave it, and the initial pain of buying it is less than with more expensive printers. The Lexmark is our well-deserved Recommended award.


Speed rating6

Printer language & OS Support

PCL level6
PostScript level3

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final1200 x 1200dpi
Rated/quoted print speed21PPM
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionno


Monthly duty cycle35,000 pages
Drum lifeN/A
Fuser lifeN/A
Transfer-belt lifeN/A
Standard mono toner life1,000 pages
High-yield mono toner life2,500 pages
Standard colour toner life1,000
High-yield colour toner life2,000 pages
Supplied mono toner life2,500 pages
Supplied colour toner life2,000

Power and noise

Peak noise level47.0dB(A)
Dimensions424 x 400 x 292mm (WDH)

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured)20ppm
Colour print speed20ppm

Media Handling

Input tray capacity251 sheets
Output tray capacity100 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?yes
Bluetooth connection?no
WiFi connection?no
PictBridge port?no
Other connectionsnone

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Other operating system supportNovell Netware, Novell Open Enterprise Server, Sun Solaris SPARC, Sun Solaris x86, HP-UX, IBM AIX, Linux (various)

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