Looking at colour, laser multifunction printers can get a bit samey, as many of them have very similar designs. Not so, the Lexmark X543dn, which includes a fair amount of novelty in this small workgroup machine.
At over 35kg, it's no lightweight and it’s bulky enough that its flatbed scanner, with Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), doesn't look as big as on similar machines from other makes.
The ADF can take up to 50 sheets, which is a good capacity, proportionally more generous than the 250 sheets of the main paper tray. There's a single-sheet feed for special media and a clever optional second tray is available, which incorporates both a 550-sheet paper tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose feed.
Perhaps the most unusual feature of the X543dn is that printed pages feed out to a near vertical tray at the back of the machine, rather than to the front, which is much more common. It doesn't make the machine particularly difficult to use and in some ways is more convenient.
The main control panel, which runs the full width of the machine, is sparsely populated, partly because this machine doesn't include fax facilities. The two-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display is enough to display status messages and menus, though occasionally text has to auto-scroll to fit. There's a numeric pad, so you can print securely, with PIN entry, though there's no front-panel USB socket. For that you have to pay more to get the X544dn.
Physical setup is also unusual, as you clip the four toner cartridges into place at the side, once you've lifted up the right-hand end of the scanner unit and locked it in place. Although the yield of the toner cartridges is quite low, a maximum of 2,500 pages, you can install a dozen of these before needing to replace the imaging drums. As long as you have left sufficient room at the side of the machine, maintenance is very simple.
Lexmark has always supported a lot of different operating systems and, as well as Windows and OS X support, this machine will run with a wide range of Linux implementations, Novell NetWare, UNIX and Citrix MetaFrame. Software consists of a driver and a status monitoring applet. USB and network connections are provided as standard.