capsule review

Lexmark E352dn Monochrome Laser Printer

At a Glance
  • Lexmark E352dn

    PCWorld Rating

Small workgroups usually don't need big-iron printers; some don't even need color. But they always need speed and flexibility. Lexmark's E352dn monochrome laser printer is expensive compared with many small-business printers, but it's got what it takes to handle a heavy printing load.

First of all, this is a very fast printer for its class. In our tests, text shot out at a rate of 32.8 ppm (pages per minute); graphics managed a fairly fast 7.2 ppm. Text samples we printed looked smooth, precise, and black. Photos appeared a little light and a little rough, but shading was balanced. The graphically attractive driver offers options for making booklets, posters, watermarks, and other useful printouts.

Although the E352dn closely resembles the Dell 1720dn Laser Printer, it improves upon one key design feature: the control panel. You--or your harried office manager--will love the two-line LCD, which shows messages in plain English. Two-way menu navigation buttons surround a button labeled with a green check mark for confirming settings. The other buttons (for stopping, restarting, going back) have word labels, but even their symbolic labels are easy to understand.

The rest of the design is generally good. Duplex printing comes standard, along with parallel, USB, and ethernet connections. The 250-sheet, letter/legal-size input tray has a little flex, and its length guide suffered from hard-to-see markings. A 550-sheet input tray is available. A manual-feed slot feeds thicker media through to a foldout rear exit tray.

A side button pops open the printer's front to reveal the toner cartridge assembly. A generously sized, 3000-page recyclable cartridge comes with the printer. The toner and the photoconductor are separate parts; though this design should make for cheaper consumables, the E352dn's costs are just middling. The returnable replacements cost $95.50 for 3500 pages (2.7 cents per page), or $175.50 for 9000 pages (1.9 cents per page). The nonrecyclable versions cost a little more. The photoconductor lasts 30,000 pages and costs just $37.50 to replace, adding a small fraction of a penny per page.

The automated installation requires only a few clicks to select the files and connection type. The documentation includes a largely wordless setup poster (in 14 languages) and PDF-based guides to menu options and basic use, as well as an all-encompassing user guide that covers maintenance and other topics. Network management and status utilities are available on the CD as well.

The E352dn is compact enough to fit in a small-workgroup environment, but it's got the power and expandability to accommodate growing needs as well. The higher price includes many features that will pay off in the long run.

--Melissa Riofrio

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The price may be high, but this printer offers speed and features galore, plus expandability.

    Pros

    • Very fast; easy-to-use control panel
    • Automatic duplexer standard

    Cons

    • Expensive; input tray poorly marked
    • Input tray poorly marked
Related:
Shop Tech Products at Amazon