IT Pro Verdict
Excellent print quality
Strong cloud support
High running costs
Lexmark’s MC3326i is one of the cheapest colour laser MFPs we’ve seen, yet it offers a great range of features. It brings together print, copy, scan and digital fax services for both wired and wireless networks, and does it all in a desktop-friendly package. It even offers double-sided printing, and the scanner is topped off with a capacious 50-page document feeder.
With a quoted print speed of 24ppm, the MC3326i’s print engine isn’t the fastest around, but it will be fine for small offices. And it delivers on its promises: our mono 24-page test Word document was delivered in 59 seconds, after a wait of 11 seconds for the first page. Switching to colour didn’t slow the printer down, either; our 24-page DTP-style document was dispatched at the same rate, while duplexing dropped speeds to 13ppm.
As for print quality, we’ve no complaints. The driver offers only a single interpolated 2,400 x 600dpi resolution mode, but this delivers outstanding print quality with beautifully sharp text, right down to 6pt, and plenty of detail in black and white photos.
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Colour output is satisfactory too, if not quite flawless. Complex colour transitions in our test chart looked ultra-smooth, while photos were bright and vibrant, with just the merest hint of banding in large single blocks of colour.
The catch is the ongoing cost of consumables. Lexmark’s standard toner cartridges are poor value, with mono and colour page costs working out to 4p and 18.5p respectively. Even the high-yield versions only reduce these to 3p and 13.7p. If your requirements grow, the costs could quickly mount up.
Still, you don’t need to worry about staff burning through those consumables on personal print jobs. You can use the MFP’s web console to decide exactly what features are available for public use, and lock all other functions down with local groups and user accounts. The MFP’s touchscreen can be secured too, so if a user wants to print personal photos from a USB flash drive, they will need to enter their account details first.
Scan operations are quite swiftly dispatched: we watched ten single-sided pages trundle through the scanner at an average of 18ppm. Note, though, that the ADF is a simplex model and can’t scan both sides of a page in one pass.
There’s a good choice of destinations too. Documents can be scanned to network folders, FTP servers or local flash drives, and if you provide an SMTP server they can be sent directly to email addresses. You can streamline the scanning process by using the web console to create shortcuts that appear on the touchscreen – which is probably the best way to use it, as its small 7.2cm size can be a little fiddly for anything more than one-touch operations.
Lexmark’s Cloud Connector feature adds further versatility, providing apps for local scanning and printing using OneDrive, Dropbox, Box and Google Drive cloud accounts. It’s easy to set up – you just create a profile from the panel, enter the unique code in Lexmark’s cloud connector portal to allow it to access your account, and protect it at the panel with a PIN.
Be clear, this MFP is best suited to lightweight printing duties –as confirmed by the non-expandable 250-sheet paper tray and relatively small 2,500-page monthly duty cycle. Busy offices would be well advised to invest in an MFP with greater expansion opti0ns and lower running costs. However, for small businesses that only require occasional prints, Lexmark’s MC3326i is a tempting proposition – and as a bonus, registering with Lexmark qualifies you for a generous four-year onsite warranty.
Lexmark MC3326i specifications
|Format||600dpi A4 colour laser MFP, 600dpi simplex colour scanner|
|CPU||1GHz dual-core CPU|
|Display||7.2cm colour touchscreen|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless|
|Connectivity||2 x USB 2|
|Tray size||250-sheet paper tray, 50-sheet ADF, single-sheet MPT|
|Recommended monthly duty cycle||2,500 pages|
|Dimensions||411 x 394 x 344mm|
|Warranty||4yr onsite warranty|
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.