No matter’s in your options guidelines on your subsequent mono laser multi function printer meant for a small-to-midsize workplace or workgroup, odds are the Lexmark MB3442i has it. Characteristic by function, it largely matches our Editors’ Alternative choose for the class—the Canon imageClass MF455dw—for all the things from its 4 customary AIO capabilities (printing, scanning, copying, and faxing) to sturdy paper dealing with that features duplex (two-sided) printing and scanning. It even helps sending and receiving faxes by the cloud, a function that units it aside from the MF455dw and most different AIOs. Nevertheless, it additionally has a better worth than the Canon printer, at $489.99 record, a better operating value, and slower velocity when printing in duplex in our exams. That is sufficient to go away the MF455dw firmly in place as our prime choose, whereas nonetheless making the MB3442i a better option for some workplaces.
Setup: Simple for Printing, Not So Simple for Scanning
The MB3442i’s 28.2-pound weight is simply sufficient that you could be need some assist transferring it into place, which may simply be on or subsequent to your desk. At 13.3 by 16.2 by 14.4 inches (HWD), it’s sufficiently small so it will not really feel prefer it’s towering over you, and having it in attain will make it simple to make use of the touch-screen management panel or insert paperwork for scanning. Along with letting you alter printer settings, the contact display enables you to give instructions to electronic mail and fax instantly from the printer; scan to or print from cloud storage websites, together with DropBox and OneDrive; and scan to or print from a USB reminiscence key. You can too set it to indicate or conceal most of the accessible instructions, together with the icons for Copy, Fax, E mail, USB, and Scan to Laptop.
Bodily setup is easy. Take away the packing supplies—together with from the toner cartridge and imaging unit that ship contained in the printer, load paper, and join a USB or Ethernet cable should you do not wish to use Wi-Fi.
The provided driver and software program disc features a setup program that, in my exams, discovered the Ethernet-connected printer on the community, put in the proprietary print driver, paused to ask whether or not to proceed, after which put in the fax driver and TWAIN scan driver once I gave it the go-ahead. You can too obtain the drivers from Lexmark’s web site, which presents choices for PCL and PostScript emulation for workplaces that want them. For cell printing from iOS and Android gadgets, you should utilize the Lexmark Print app, as nicely, which labored with out issues utilizing an Android telephone and connecting through Wi-Fi Direct.
The one setup situation I bumped into was that there was no scan app on the disc to go along with the scan driver. As an alternative, you may discover a Scanback utility on the obtain web page—the one alternative talked about within the downloadable person information—however it did not work in my exams. What lastly let me scan with out putting in a third-party app was Lexmark’s Scan Heart, a fundamental scan program that is simple to arrange and labored swimmingly as soon as I put in it. Nevertheless, it isn’t talked about within the person information or in any documentation that comes with the printer. I needed to name Lexmark’s tech help to seek out out about it and get a hyperlink to obtain it.
Slightly than connecting on to the telephone system for faxing, the MB3442i helps each sending and receiving faxes over the web. The printer comes with a three-month or 300-page subscription to etherFAX, which helps you to join securely to different etherFAX gadgets for end-to-end encrypted transmissions—a requirement in medical workplaces for HIPAA compliance, for instance. It could possibly additionally join by the cloud to fax gadgets on customary telephone strains—however with out end-to-end encryption. After the free introduction interval, etherFAX prices $7.99 per 30 days (lower than a devoted fax telephone line) for as much as 150 pages despatched and acquired or $24.99 per 30 days for limitless faxing.
Paper dealing with for printing is each appropriate and pretty customary for mono printers meant for heavy-duty use in a small-to-midsize workplace. The bottom unit presents a 250-sheet drawer, a 100-sheet multi-purpose tray, and automated duplexing—sufficient for greater than every week between paper refills on the low finish of the 800-to-8,000-page-per-month beneficial vary. Including the $150.64 non-obligatory 550-sheet drawer, or the $216.78 lockable model, boosts the whole to 900 sheets.
For scanning, the MB3442i presents a letter-size flatbed and a 50-sheet ADF for as much as legal-size paper. As it is best to insist on at this worth, the ADF presents single-pass duplexing, which greater than doubles the scan velocity for two-sided originals in contrast with reversing ADFs that scan single-sided pages on the identical velocity, however duplex by scanning one facet after which turning the web page over to scan the opposite.
Working value is a contact excessive, at 2.6 cents per web page for the toner alone, even after profiting from the low cost that comes with the Lexmark Return Program for recycling the cartridges. As well as, the imaging unit provides 0.19 cent per web page, which raises the whole to 2.8 cents as soon as you have printed the 40,000 pages the included unit is rated for. As a degree of comparability, the Canon MF455dw won’t solely value much less to purchase however will prevent much more with every web page you print, because of a operating value of simply 2.25 cents per web page.
Quick for One-Sided Printing; Slows Down for Two Sides
For our efficiency exams, I linked the MB3442i and our customary testbed to a community utilizing Ethernet and in contrast the efficiency between it, the MF455dw, and two different mono laser AIOs aimed toward same-size workplaces and workgroups: the Canon MF452dw and the Pantum BM5100ADN.
For simplex (one-sided) printing, there wasn’t a lot distinction among the many 4 printers in our exams. For our 12-page Microsoft Phrase textual content file, the BM5100ADN had the slowest first web page out (FPO) time, then made up for it with the quickest velocity beginning with web page 2. For the total enterprise purposes suite, which provides plenty of brief recordsdata that embody colour graphics and images, the MB3442i and each Canon printers tied for first place on most particular person exams, whereas the BM5100ADN got here in final on most, however solely by a couple of seconds on every, in keeping with its longer FPO time.
Though the efficiency variations had been too little to matter for paperwork as much as about 10 or 20 pages, they’re sufficient to doubtlessly make an enormous distinction should you repeatedly print paperwork which can be tens or a whole lot of pages every, with the BM5100ADN the quickest (44ppm beginning at web page 2), the MB3442i second (41ppm), the MF455dw an in depth third (39ppm), and the MF452dw a convincing fourth (35ppm).
Much more necessary, when printing in duplex, there have been way more vital efficiency variations. As with most printers, the Lexmark and Pantum printers each slowed all the way down to solely a bit of greater than half their simplex print speeds, whereas neither Canon printer slowed down by a lot in any respect. So after we printed the Phrase file in duplex, the MF455dw was simply the quickest printer within the batch from web page 2 on (38ppm), the MF452dw was an in depth second (34ppm), the BM5100ADN took a noticeably slower third place (25ppm), and the MB3442i was a contact slower nonetheless (23ppm).
Output high quality for the MB3442i is a bit in need of prime tier for a mono laser, however simply adequate for many functions. Each font in our take a look at suite that you just’re seemingly to make use of in a enterprise doc was simply readable and well-formed at 6 factors, and all however one had been simply readable at 5 factors. Nevertheless, I noticed breaks in some loops in characters at 4 and 5 factors with some fonts, and a few had been a bit of grey on the smaller sizes moderately than darkish black. Readability for the 2 stylized fonts with thick strokes was typical, which interprets to being simply readable at 8 factors for one and 12 factors for the opposite.
Graphics and images had been usually adequate to indicate all the things they need to, however they weren’t spectacular. Gradients in some graphics regarded extra like smudges, and I noticed each banding and uneven pile peak. In a line graph with a black background, one line was rendered in such a darkish grey that it was virtually unimaginable to see, and far of a 1-pixel-wide line confirmed as a collection of dots. Pictures confirmed numerous banding and dithering patterns, however the high quality was a contact higher than outdated black-and-white newspaper images—simply adequate to make out what was within the image.
Verdict: A Prime Alternative for the Proper Workplace
The Lexmark MB3442i matches the very best of its competitors for many options, from paper dealing with to duplex scanning to hurry for one-sided printing, then raises the bar with its help for faxing by the cloud. For medical and different workplaces that want faxing with end-to-end encryption, that one function may be greater than sufficient to make it their most well-liked alternative. In case you do not want it, nevertheless, you’ll want to take into account the opposite AIOs talked about right here.
Between them, the BM5100ADN presents the bottom value per web page and the quickest efficiency for simplex printing for lengthy recordsdata. Each Canon printers tie for the second-lowest operating value on this group and match one another for many different options, together with printing on two sides of every web page almost as quick as they will print on one. The important thing variations are that the MF455dw is quicker and provides the power to scan in duplex for faxing, as an alternative of limiting the function to copying and scanning. It additionally prices a bit of extra, however not sufficient extra to maintain it from being our prime choose should you do not want the MB3442i’s web faxing.