Lexmark has long been a main player in expandable laser printers, machines that can grow with you as your business develops, offering more paper trays, collation and stapling facilities and separate feeds for envelopes and special media. The T642 is one such machine, which starts as a simple but quick, standalone printer, and can be expanded to the large workgroup or small departmental level, by judicious addition of options.
The T642 is a bulky machine for a mono A4 device, sitting up tall on the desk, as well as having a footprint nearly half a metre square. It uses a tried and tested paper path, feeding from a 50-sheet tray at the bottom to an indented tray in its top surface. The pull-down front panel reveals a multi-purpose tray, which can take up to 100 more sheets.
That’s just the start, though, as on the input side you can install up to three extra 500-sheet trays, a 2000-sheet, high-capacity tray and a duplexer – there’s no duplex as standard on the machine. On the output side you can have mail sorters, up to three separate output bins and a stapling finisher, so multi-page documents can be output stapled together.
A fully-expanded T642 should be well up to taking output from a number of network users, sorting jobs and filing them for easy access. The options don't come cheap though, so best to contact Lexmark to get a quote for the configuration you're after.
While discussing options, there's no network socket as standard on the T642, just USB 2.0 and parallel. You have to buy the T642n for that, at around £120 more. That's a lot for Ethernet.
Once you've made the local connection and run the installation software, the printer is very straightforward to use. The printer driver offers all the options you would expect, such as multi-page per sheet printing, watermarks and overlays.
The drum and toner cartridge comes pre-installed, but is one of Lexmark's Return Programme cartridges, which insists you return them to Lexmark to get the price discount. While this encourages recycling, it also ties you in to the printer manufacturer as your consumables supplier.
As well as printing documents from your PC, the T642 is set up to handle print from memory drives. Although filetypes are restricted to PDF, TIF and JPG (why no DOC?), the control panel shows the names of files on the drive so you can navigate, select and print directly.