Colour laser print is becoming more and more of an essential in business and colour lasers for the medium and large workgroup have followed the trend of their lower capacity siblings, dropping in price to much more realistic levels. Lexmark's C736dn is a high capacity, duplex colour laser, intended for a busy group of people with a lot to print.
This is a pretty substantial machine, but not particularly big when compared with its main rivals. It's taller than it is wide or deep, as the laser engine inside is mounted vertically, one colour above the next.
Housed in cream and mid-grey, the design follows Lexmark's current simple lines. There's a deep bin set into the top surface of the machine with a stubby support behind, to catch pages as they feed out. The front panel consists of a backlit, four-line by 16-character, fully bitmapped LCD display, with a square of navigation arrows to one side and a socket for USB drives on the other. There's also a number pad, as walk-up access to the printer can be PIN protected.
Having hammered on about it for a long time, we're pleased to see a paper tray which can take a full ream of paper at a time - in fact up to 550 sheets of 80gsm, with a 100-sheet multipurpose tray folding down above this.
You can add a further three, 550 sheet trays or a motorised, 2,000-sheet bin, giving a total expanded capacity of 4,300 sheets, surely enough for any workgroup. At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet and options include parallel and wireless ports.
Initial setup is fiddly compared with other machines aimed at a similar market. Start by extending the paper tray, which is one of those telescopically expandable ones. Then pull down the front panel to expose the toner cartridges and photoconductor drums and remove each of the cartridges in turn, to pull out plastic protective strips. Shake the cartridges and replace and then remove similar strips from each of the photoconductors. Finally remove two packing strips from the feed mechanism and a long sheet of thin card from the base of the print engine.
Fortunately, software setup is much more straightforward and the drivers for PCL 6 and Postscript Level 3, both in emulation, together with a monitoring applet, install easily. This printer has drivers available for Windows from 2000 onwards, OSX, a wide range of Linux variants, Novell NetWare and Sun, HP and IBM versions of UNIX. There aren't many places this printer won't fit.