The Lexmark MC3426i colour MFP laser printer is 24ppm with low per-page costs, auto double-sided print and scan, and fits into a compact desktop space. It is ideal for workgroups or those that need colour.
Now colour is not always a priority, so if you can get away with mono read Lexmark MB3442i Mono MFP laser printer is very fast (review) 9.2/10 where print costs are a fraction of a cent, and 40ppm makes print jobs disappear even faster.
In 2020 printer sales were about 100 million. COVID related component and supply chain issues saw about a 20% drop in 2021.
Colour inkjets are rapidly growing in the consumer space, particularly the more expensive to purchase ink tank type, which has lower running costs. Even so, nothing beats the laser’s saturated colour and print water resistance.
Lexmark has a government/business/healthcare focus – that is why you won’t see it at most electronics retailers. According to enlyft in the US, it is #2 with 19% of the commercial market with #1 Epson (28%), #3 Konica Minolta (15%) and #4 HP (10%). Lasers are set to stay, at least for enterprise use.
Regardless of the stats and sources, lasers, particularly small business colour lasers with MFP functions, are booming.
You can tell this is a business-class – solid build, oversized feed rollers, metal chassis, liberal use of high impact polycarbonate and 19.4kg (most lower-cost lasers are half that weight).
Duplex print and scan usually are the province of more expensive printers.
Download the drivers, connect to Wi-Fi/Ethernet/USB, and that is it. SysAdmins will appreciate the ease of integrating it into the printer fleet, and it finds all Lexmark printers and installs. You can adjust any setting via the touch screen.
Web server access via its IP address also has every imaginable setting available. You can import a config file, rename the printer, add asset tag/location, set up email logs and sanitise all information in its memory.
There is also a Lexmark Assistant for Android and iOS apps. It covers scanning and printing (text, photo, web) and discovers all network printers – not just Lexmark. Easy to use for mobile print.
This model does not have a PSTN phone line for fax, but you can subscribe to a cloud Fax service that enables send and receive of faxes.
Lexmark claims 90 A4 pages scanning in mono (Text mode 300 DPI), which is fast, and colour scanning is half that speed. You can select Text, Text/Photo, Photo and Graphics (increasing resolution and decreasing scan speed). It can scan to computer, network storage, email, FTP and more.
The scanner is well made with oversize rollers to handle various paper types and weights. Its duplex scanning is one pass (two scan heads), which increases reliability.
Text is crisp and jet-black as only a laser can. Colour photos are even – no banding or blotching. We tested with a variety of paper stocks and envelopes. Tray one will handle up to 100gsm stock, and the manual feed is for up to 200gsm stock.
There are two user-replaceable parts: the toner/drum unit and the waste toner bottle.
Toner comes in C, Y, M, K (four) High Yield (4500 pages). You can also get 1500 page yield toners, but the price per page jumps. The advantage of a laser is that replacement units give you a near new unit.
Toner price varies, so we use Inkstation.com.au as a reference.
Lexmark also operates a spent toner return program (LCCP) to reduce costs.
Lasers consume more power than inkjets. Like inkjets, they should be left on all the time. Typical energy use (as defined by Energy Star) is .37 kilowatt-hours a week. At around 25 cents per kWh, that’s about nine cents a week.
After reviewing an item, we read other reviews to see if they generally concur with our findings. On the whole, international reviewers loved it.
But Choice (that we respect enormously) called it a laser to avoid. “The highs: super-fast printing, excellent networking capability, pretty good scanning. The lows: abysmal print quality (scoring just 43%), underwhelming copying capabilities, a yawn-worthy 95 seconds from power on to printing, high annual ink/toner costs and only rated OK for ease of use.”
We did not experience any of the negatives. Print quality was superb, time to print (11 seconds) is class average, and print speeds in duplex and single-sided were fast and accurate. The review date was April 2021, and we suspect that firmware updates (the latest is 11 January 2022) and driver updates (27 September 2021) cured any early production foibles it may have had.
Its build quality is evident, and its print speed and quality are superb. Double-sided print and scan are fantastic features at this price.
But the thing that really stands out is value. $699 to purchase a colour laser with full-duplex print and scan is terrific. And print costs are so low you won’t care.
This is hard to beat if you want a colour, fast, reliable, small office or workgroup laser.
After seeing the print quality on plain paper (compared to an inkjet), its small footprint and duplex print and scan, my answer is a definite yes.
Please see our MB3442i gallery here.