Lexmark's New XLs Hope To Wed Color To Cost-Effectiveness

Lexmark International on Tuesday took the wraps off new additions to its color laser family: the C782n XL color laser printer and the X782e XL color laser multifunction printer. The C782n XL joins the vendor's established C782 line, and the X782e XL is set to replace the X782e. Both are designed with high-volume color printing in mind, the goal being to allow businesses to keep professional quality printing costs cheap and in-house.

"The timing is right," said Mark Barnett, Lexmark's director of Strategic Products -- Color. "This product offering is going to allow [customers] to leverage color and drive their business, but very cost competitively."

Both the C782n XL and X782e XL models will be made available through Lexmark's channel partners. The XLs begin shipping on Nov. 22 in North America, and an announcement about other geographies, Barnett said, is forthcoming. While Barnett did not definitively say when the current X782e printers would stop shipping, he suggested December as the likely time frame.

In both new XL models, Barnett announced, color toner cartridges for the Lexmark C782n XL (pictured left) and X782e XL are priced the same as black XL high-yield toner cartridges. "There is no premium for color," Barnett reiterated, describing how Lexmark clocks savings at a 54 percent reduction overall in color toner prices. The cartridges, priced at $199 each, also have a yield of 16,500 pages at 5 percent coverage.

"Customers can print volumes of color documents affordably and avoid outsourcing to an expensive print shop," said Marty Canning, Lexmark vice president and president of its Printing Solutions and Services Division, in a statement.

Barnett zeroed in on three areas in particular where Lexmark hopes the XL models (including the Lexmark C782dn XL, pictured left) will find a sweet spot, allowing businesses to keep printing costs in-house:

-- Manufacturing, with an emphasis on warehouse bin and bar tags, asset tags, chemical drum labeling, informational signage, CAD/CAM, manuals, visitor and employee badges and other forms of documentation;

-- Retail/wholesale, giving retailers the ability to print items such as color signs, color photos for shelf planograms and shelf labels in-house, and;

-- Health care, for color photos of patients on wristbands and other vertical-specific challenges requiring printing.

"Bring on those complex media," Barnett said. "Bring on the heaviest use applications."

The C782n XL -- which comes in a base network model (C782n XL), a base + duplex (C782dn XL) and a base + duplex + 500 sheet tray (C782dtn XL, pictured left) -- prints at speeds of up to 40 ppm mono and 35 ppm in color, and is compatible with Lexmark's 16.5K cartridge. The base network model is $1,999, base + duplex is $2,299 and base + duplex + 500 sheet tray is $2,599.

Additional paper-handling capabilities include stackable input drawers, StapleSmart Finisher, mailbox and/or high-capacity output expander. The C782 base also boasts black TTFP as fast as 11 seconds, color TTFP as fast as 13 seconds and an 800MHz processor. All of the new XLs have different dark gray bezels to differentiate them visually.

The X782e XL is a multifunction unit that uses Lexmark's e-Task touch screen for workflow solutions and adds scanning, copying and faxing capabilities. Like the C782n XL, it prints at 40 ppm in mono and 35 ppm in color. Its estimated street price is $4,499.

Mark Barnett, Lexmark's director of Strategic Products -- Color (pictured left) illustrated that while the C782n XL costs $700 more in hardware than the current C782n -- $1,999 to $1,299 in a 48-month anticipated install life cycle -- the difference in supplies is $10,547 for the XL vs. $19,467 for the C782n, based on a 10 percent higher supply yield than before. The user pays a bit more for hardware, but the break-even, based on savings in supplies and maintenance, comes at around 25,232 pages.

"Once you've put in your 25,000+ pages, you're recouping that $700," he explained. "But it is profitable for us. We are looking at this as incremental business to Lexmark and through this aggressive offering [we're] anticipating our salespeople will be successful. And let's be frank here, I anticipate competitive wins from people like HP, Oki Data and others."