Lexmark T650DN mono workgroup laser printer
Low cost, good; low paper capacity, bad
The control panel is a little lost in the large area of plastic at the front of the top panel, but includes a backlit, text-based display with navigation controls to the right and a number pad to the right of that. The number pad is so you can print securely, only releasing a network print job once you arrive at the printer. There's a USB socket at the left end of the panel, too, for walk-up printing from a Flash drive. Both these facilities are useful extras in a workgroup machine, assuming your company's security policy permits them.
Cartridge exchange is quick and easy
At the back are sockets for USB 2.0 and 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, and you can add wireless networking as another option. Installation is straightforward, and Lexmark provides PCL 6 and PostScript Level 3 in emulation. A network monitor is included, so you can check printer status from any machine. Drivers are provided for all recent versions of Windows and are available for Mac, Linux and various other operating systems, too.
Lexmark rates the T650DN at 43ppm, which is a fair lick, but in practice you're unlikely to see this. Our five-page text document completed in 15 seconds, giving a speed of 20ppm. Increasing this to 20 pages brings the speed up to 34ppm, over three quarters of the rated speed. Even so, you're going to have to print some pretty big documents to squeeze out that extra 9ppm, or print in draft mode, which few customers do.
Printing the same 20-page document in duplex mode took 44 seconds, a speed of over 27ppm. This shows the efficiency of an external duplexer, as duplexing a document regularly reduces its print speed by half, on machines with internal duplexers. Printing at nearly 80 per cent of the simplex speed should encourage you to set duplex printing as default and benefit from the paper savings.
Requirements for office laser printing start with black text, move onto graphs and charts, and finish with photo images. This Lexmark printer produces sharp, clean text, densely black and with no signs of spattered toner. The default resolution of 1200dpi helps maintain a high levels of detail, even at small point sizes.
This ugly add-on speeds duplex print
Graphics are also generally well reproduced and there are enough greyscales to distinguish between different colours when reproducing colour documents on this mono printer. Areas of greyscale fill, however, aren't as smooth as they might be and, while there's little evidence of banding, there is a certain blotchiness to mid and dark greys.