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Lexmark T430dn

Pros

  • Fast, good documentation

Cons

  • Poor graphics print quality

Bottom Line

The Lexmark T430dn prints clean text quickly enough to satisfy a small workgroup, but its graphics output looks dark and unrealistic.

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Lexmark's T430dn is tailor-made for an executive's office or a small workgroup. It packs a decent set of features into a compact shape just right for a typical office credenza. It offers good performance and good documentation. But its graphics quality was subpar, unfortunately, making its somewhat high price harder to swallow. The T430dn's standard configuration includes a 250-sheet paper drawer and a nice bonus: an internal duplexer. If your workgroup exceeds a half-dozen people, you'll probably want to add the optional 250-sheet drawer and perhaps also the optional 500-sheet drawer, for a maximum input of 1000 pages (not counting the 100-page multipurpose tray). The standard 64MB of memory is upgradeable to a maximum of 320MB. The 65,000-page monthly duty cycle should suffice to handle most small offices' needs. A 6000-page toner cartridge comes in the box, and a 12,000-page unit is available as well; versions returnable to Lexmark for recycling are less expensive.

This printer fared better with print speed than with output quality. Though the unit's tested 22.7ppm text-printing speed fell noticeably short of its specified 32ppm maximum engine speed, it was faster than most other workgroup printers we've tested recently. Text looked precise and legible, though a bit shiny, at all tested point sizes. The T430dn's 12ppm graphics printing speed and 5.7ppm photo printing speed were above average, too, but the images the T430dn produced looked dark, with harsh shadows and distracting moire patterns.

I liked the documentation. Both the printed manual and the CD-based manual were detailed, thorough, and nicely illustrated. The only labelling that reflected insufficient attention was on the toner cartridge: the printed Setup Guide adequately illustrated the cartridge's awkward insertion/removal method, but the cartridge itself lacked even a single directional arrow. The paper tray isn't hard to figure out, but it could use more and better internal markings.

The control panel is reasonably easy to use, though I found the design--which forces the Menu button into double duty as navigation button--confusing. To the company's credit, Lexmark groups the Select button with the Menu/navigation button so it's obvious that they're to be used together. You can print a Quick Reference guide and a menu map from the control panel--a nice convenience.

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