It took less than two minutes to print 50 pages of plain text, finished quickest with the 24-page DTP document, and was right behind the leaders in all other tasks. It kept up with nippy rivals such as the HP P2014 and the Brother HL-5240, whether printing Excel spreadsheets, word documents or photographs.
This electric speed is matched with mostly superb quality. Text is, oddly enough, slightly weak when compared to the other budget mono printers on test: the only thing keeping the Lexmark from a perfect six stars in that respect. But in practice you probably won’t notice this, and it performs better elsewhere. Photographic content is crisp and sharp, while gradients are impressively smooth and consistent. It seems that the E250dn enjoys difficult print jobs and performs especially well when challenged.
These two crucial aspects of the Lexmark – quality and speed – are backed up by a comprehensive set of features. As well as the standard USB port, there’s ethernet for network connectivity and a parallel port for older connections. And networking isn’t the only impressive extra here – there’s plenty more packed in, such as a built-in duplexing module and a single-page multipurpose feed slot at the front.
Feature-wise, the only downside to the Lexmark is the lack of an LCD screen. Instead, you’re treated to a sparse button panel that means you can only change settings via the driver.
This is joined by one other, slightly more significant weakness: running costs. With an outlay of $134 buying you a mere 3,500 pages from each cartridge, the Lexmark is consistently at the wrong end of the chart in this respect.
But the low purchase price at least keeps the value score reasonable and, in all other respects, the Lexmark E250dn is a very good all-round printer. It’s quick, packed with useful features and produces (mostly) great-quality results.
A versatile, high-quality printer with a wide range of features
• Lexmark: www.lexmark.com.au
• Price: $286 • Printing method: Laser • Max printing resolution: 600 x 600 • Fastest quoted print speed: 28ppm • RAM: 32MB/96MB • Ethernet: Yes • USB: Yes • Other I/O ports: Parallel • Tray capacity: 250/150 pages • Dimensions (WDH mm): 360 x 400 x 259 • Noise level: 51dBA • Manufacturer: Lexmark • Supplier: Lexmark