- Good quality black text
- Fast duplex print speed
- Reasonable running costs
- Only one extra tray
- Not as fast as claimed
- Some banding in graphics
- Review Price: £164.00
- Duplex print as standard
- USB, Ethernet and parallel connections
- 50-sheet multi-purpose tray
- Instant-on fuser saves energy
- 1,200dpi resolution
Decked out in a practical but uninspiring light and dark grey case, the printer has a chamfered front edge, into which a simple control panel is set. This has a 2-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display and six buttons for menu navigation and to abort current print jobs.
At the bottom of the front panel is a 250-sheet paper tray and there’s a rather cumbersome looking, 50-sheet multi-purpose tray that folds down and pulls out from above that. You can add a 250-sheet or a 500-sheet tray as an accessory, but only one extra tray can be fitted.
At the back are three sockets for USB, 10/100 Ethernet and parallel connections. The last of these is there to ensure minimum disruption in legacy installations.
Folding down the whole of the front panel gives access to the two-piece drum and toner cartridge. Locating the cartridge and sliding it into the printer is more awkward than some rivals and you need to exert a fair amount of force to put it in place. Separating the drum from the toner cartridge is much easier and you can replace up to eight cartridges before the drum needs renewing.
Lexmark provides drivers for Windows and OS X and includes PCL and PostScript emulations. Linux support is available through a download for Linpus, Red Hat, Suse, Linspire, Debian, Red Flag and Ubuntu, a very good cross-section of distributions. There’s little other software, except a network monitor applet.
Lexmark rates the E360dn at up to 38ppm. We find it hard to see how the company could have reached this kind of figure. Our five-page text document took 25s to complete, giving a speed of 12ppm and switching to draft mode only improved it by 0.5ppm. The 20-page document produced a higher speed, but still only 14ppm.
Despite its fast USB connection, the printer faltered slightly every couple of pages. While this wouldn’t account for the missing 24ppm, the five-copy, single-page text and graphics test didn’t show this hesitation and gave 16.7ppm. Duplex print is surprisingly quick, at 13.5 sides per minute.
Lexmark lasers usually give very good print and the E360dn lives up to the reputation. Text is crisp and dense, with no sign of any spatter. The default resolution of 1,200dpi means curves and diagonals are smooth and clean and fill patterns are generally good.
The graphics in our text and graphics page were well reproduced and the greyscales representing different colours are easily distinguishable ─ by no means always the case. Grey fills are a little banded and this is more noticeable in the photo print, though even here it’s not that obtrusive for a mono laser.
The running costs are made up of two components, the photoconductor drum and toner cartridge. The drum is designed to print 30,000 pages and the toner cartridge is available in two yields: 3,500 pages and 9,000 pages. The typical costs of both consumables give a page cost of 2.8p, which is roughly mid-way between lowest and highest running costs for the mono lasers we’ve looked at.
Although Lexmark supplies a starter cartridge with this printer, it’s unusually a high-yield one, giving a full 9,000 pages, so you won’t need to nip out and renew it after a few weeks of use.
There are two versions of the cartridges, Normal and Return Programme. For some years Lexmark has offered discounted versions of its consumables under this programme, if you undertake to return the used parts to the company. This helps with its recycling programme and, of course, makes it harder for third-party suppliers to get hold of genuine parts for remanufacture.
Lexmark’s E360dn is a very serviceable mono laser printer, with a high duty cycle of 6,000 pages per month. It prints clean, sharp text and does so quickly, though not nearly as quickly as the company claims. Running costs sit in the middle of the field and the asking price is comparatively low, so this printer should be well up your short list.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 8
|Connection Type||Ethernet, Parallel, USB|
|Number of Catridges||1|
|Sheet Capacity||250 + 50|
|Print Resolution (Dots per inch)||1200dpi|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||38ipm|
|Max Paper Weight||Not stated but card stock|
|Print Without PC||No|