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Lexmark C736dn

Lexmark C736dn workgroup colour laser printer

Paper mountain?

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Review If you’re running a large workgroup, you need a printer that is fast, cheap to run and has enough flexibility to handle a variety of media and to grow with the tasks it’s asked to perform. Endeavouring to address all these needs, while also offering colour, duplex and walk-up direct print, is Lexmark’s C736dn.

Lexmark C736dn

Fully loaded: Lexmark's C736dn workgroup colour laser printer

For a large workgroup laser, Lexmark's C736dn is surprisingly discreet. It has a smaller desktop footprint than many, because its colour laser engine is vertically mounted, with each of the four, colour drum and toner combinations placed one above the other. It also has a main paper tray, which can take 550 sheets of office paper at a time, lifting it still further off the desktop. A pull-down, multipurpose tray offers space for 100 sheets of special media.

Yet this is just the start of the printer's paper handling capabilities. You can add three more 550-sheet trays and a 2,000-sheet motorised bin, giving a total expanded capacity of 4,300 sheets, with plenty of flexibility for letterheads and follow-on sheets, as well as plain pages. Oddly, there are no equivalent expansion options for output, such as stackers, collators or staplers.

The printer's two-tone grey case isn't particularly photogenic, but should fit in most modern offices, without glaring. Paper feeds out from front to back and a single, flip-up paper stop at the rear is all that's needed to capture printed jobs. The control panel is functional and well laid out, with a four-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display also capable of full bitmap display, which is used to good effect by Lexmark in displaying help messages diagrammatically, for tasks such as correcting paper jams.

To the right of the LCD are menu navigation buttons and a complete number pad for entering PINs, when printing securely. You can send a job to the C736dn, but delay print until a PIN has been entered from the pad, or control use of the front panel USB port with a passcode. The ability to print PDF and some graphics file types and to connect a digital camera for PictBridge download of photos is convenient, but to avoid misuse, it's good to be able to track it back to particular users via their PINs.

Lexmark C736dn

Easy physical access to USB print, but PIN protected

At the back are sockets for USB 2 and fast Ethernet and the printer comes with support for Windows from 2000 onwards and in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions. There are also drivers for OS 9 and OS X and support for Novell, UNIX, Citrix MetaFrame and Linux. Lexmark quotes versions of Linpus, Red Hat, SUSE, Linspire, Debian, Red Flag and Ubuntu – so better than coverage than many.

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