Lexmark has always been able to produce good laser print and the output from this machine lives up to that standard. Text print is crisp and clean-cut, with very little toner spread and even small font sizes reproduce accurately at the printer's default 600dpi resolution.
Business graphics tints are fair, though there is a limited blotchiness in darker fills. Photographic reproduction also suffers from these small patches and areas of graduated tint showed some light banding. Printing photographs is not the main task of most laser printers, though.
The T430 is a fast printer, not just in terms of its page-on-page speed, but also in getting the first page out. With only a few seconds forethought, the pages of a multi-page job fairly shoot onto the printer’s top cover indicating a well optimised Windows driver.
One of Lexmark's main claims for the T430 is that it has a native PDF processor and can handle Adobe's personal document format directly, bypassing its software driver. To test this out, we printed a PDF version of our five-page text document as well as the standard Word version we use in benchmarking. The Word version took 20 seconds to complete, in itself a commendable result, but the PDF version completed in just 17 seconds, some 18 per cent faster.
This is still under 18ppm overall, of course, far short of the claimed 30ppm, showing just how optimistic printer makers continue to be in rating the speeds of their machines. At least Lexmark claims ‘up to 30ppm’ for the T430.
While the purchase price of this type of laser printer is only a small part of the overall cost of ownership, at just under £400 from the web, it’s similar to its main competitors. In the laser printer market, asking price is proportional to print speed and 30ppm machines from HP and Epson sit in the same price bracket.
The T430 uses a single, all-in-one drum and toner cartridge. It comes in two varieties, a standard-yield product offering 6,000 pages at five per cent cover, and a high-yield version producing 12,000 pages, which costs around £165. That gives the lowest cost per page as 1.83p, which is good, though not the best on the block.
Although a fast printer with a good control panel and feature set, the T430 isn’t as quick as is claimed and its driver, though well optimised for speed, could do with work in order to avoid causing paper jams.