Lexmark B3442dw mono laser does a lot and moves pages alongside a regular clip, but its operating costs exceed most competitors, limiting its use to a few hundred pages a month.
A one-function print-only model with capacity, expansion options, print speed, and price that closely matched last October, Canon imageClass LBP226dw.
Lexmark competes in a segment of the printer market that has relatively cheap black-and-white laser (and inkjet-based “laser alternative”) machines, including Epson’s two bulk ink monochrome models, workforce pro WF-M5299 and EcoTank ET-M1170 wireless black-and-white supertank (pcmag’s most popular, both).
While this Lexmark and Canon laser are the two fastest entry-level monochrome machines. Due to the high operating costs of the B3442dw, it does not reach the Editors’ Choice medal.
It’s an excellent small printer that delivers thousands of high-quality prints every month, but the cost of toner makes it more sensitive at the top of a few hundred pages and pages.
Lexmark B3442dw Simple, Fast, and Expanded
Every year, Lexmark’s offerings continue to require fewer desks. The aforementioned Canon LBP226dw is about an inch taller and wider and weighs a kilo less, and the Xerox B210 and Brother HL-L2370DW are close enough in size not to matter much.
On the other hand, the HP LaserJet Pro M15w is light personal laser printers, about half the same and less than half of today’s Lexmark, and epson’s aforementioned EcoTank ET-M1170 is not much bigger and heavier than the M15w.
Another inkjet-based laser alternative mentioned above, the Epson WF-M5299, is a few inches larger in every inch and about 13 pounds larger than our Lexmark review unit.
As you can see, the B3442dw is up against a formidable list of competitors, and I didn’t list them all – not even close. In any case, like most Lexmark printers and multifunction devices, this one-function monochrome machine holds up in most areas.
As a printable device only, it doesn’t actually require many control panels, and as you can see in the image below, it doesn’t.
You’ll only get a two-line monochrome reading and some navigation buttons, but of the machines listed above, only epson WF-M5299 comes with a colour touch screen control panel.
The others are pretty much similar to Lexmark, and if you’ve ever tried to make any extensive configuration changes to a two-line drop-down menu, you know it’s boring.
Like most printers these days, it has a built-in web portal that is available from virtually any browser.
Easily monitor consumables, generate usage and other reports, configure security and other options, and more.
You’ll find this much easier than finding and configuring anything in the B3442dw’s physical control panel, but maybe lately all the color touchscreens have been messed up.
The B3442dw from the box is ready to store 350 sheets of paper – 250 sheets in the main drawer, and 100 sheets in a multipurpose override bowl. If 350 pages from two sources are not enough, you can increase the addition of a stackable 550-sheet tray ($139) to 900 sheets from three sources below.
If you’re low on space to place your printer and don’t want to put the office printer on your own desk, Lexmark also offers an adjustable printer or a rotating swivel to accommodate the B3442dw.
By comparison, the Canon LBP226dw has the same paper feed capacity as Lexmark and the same 550-sheet expansion option.
The HP M15w can expand 150 sheets, while the Xerox B210, Brother HL-L2370DW, and Epson ET-M1170 all contain 251 sheets. Another monochrome laser alternative to Epson, WF-M5299 distributes 330 sheets between a 250-sheet drawer and an 80-sheet multipurpose tray and can be expanded to 830 sheets.
Printing speed at 40 Pages Per Minute
The company values B3442dw at 42ppm; of the other machines mentioned here, only Canon LBP226dw will be close to 40ppm.
Like the Canon and Xerox models discussed here, Lexmark uses two-sided or two-sided printing by default. B3442dw printed in simplex mode at an average speed of 41.3 ppm and printed a two-sided version of the same document at an average speed of 15.3 images per minute (or ipm, where each page counts as a page image).
Good looking images and text
Laser printers are supposed to create well-displayed text, and most of them do, including this one. In addition, gridlines in charts, graphs, and tables are well-defined and do not contain blatant or even noticeable print quality issues.
I was less pleased with the grayscale photographs, but then I rarely have this output on lasers. I saw a better grayscale from several monochrome lasers, as well as alternatives to Epson black and white inkjet lasers. But that doesn’t mean the B3442dw photos were salespeople or even ugly; they were simply not impressive – they are a little too dark, with minimal granularity in some pictures.
Less uses of toner
If Lexmark’s B3442dw toner cartridges cost about half as much, this high-capability small laser would be a solid value.
But high-volume classifications are not nearly as attractive if the cost of approaching them breaks the bank. Canon imageClass LBP226dw delivers high-quality prints at half the cost, although the warning is that the proposed monthly volume is only half that of Lexmark.