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Lexmark MC3426adw review: A fast and feature-packed printer but it’s expensive to buy and run

19 Mar 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
380
inc VAT

Rapid prints combine with all the features you need from a small office printer but print costs are too high

Pros 
Fast, particularly at volume
Packed with features
Four-year guarantee
Cons 
Expensive to buy
Pricey mono prints
Disappointing scans
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If you’re buying a printer for a busy office that prints a lot of pages, you need something fast and the Lexmark MC3426adw absolutely ticks that box. In our speed tests this multifunction device raced through our prints, out-pacing cheaper competitors.

You have to absolutely need the extra speed, though, because it’s expensive. A price tag of £380 makes it over £100 more expensive than our favourite budget colour laser printer – the HP Color LaserJet Pro M522dw.

Lexmark MC3426adw review: What do you get for the money?

The Lexmark MC3426adw is something of a heavyweight printer, weighing in at 19.8kg. Despite this, it isn’t particularly huge, measuring 411 x 394 x 344mm (WDH). In fact, considering it’s a multifunction device with a 50-sheet automatic sheet feeder for making fast, unattended copies, it’s reasonably compact. At the bottom there’s a 250-sheet paper input tray and the output tray can hold 100 sheets before it needs emptying.

Both printer and scanner operate at a maximum resolution of 600 x 600dpi. It can print on both sides of a piece of paper automatically, and it has a USB port on the front that can be used for printing files straight from a USB storage device.

You can also connect to the printer directly using the rear USB port or share it over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It has a 2.8in colour touchscreen to facilitate using the device away from a PC, too; Lexmark has left no stone unturned here when it comes to features.

The printer has a monthly duty cycle of 2,500 pages. This is lower than you’ll see on HP’s laser printers, with the likes of the HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw primed to print 20,000 pages per month and the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw boosting this to 40,000. However, Lexmark offers a generous four-year guarantee, and 2,500 pages per month should be enough for most small offices.

READ NEXT: Epson Expression Premium XP-6100 review

Lexmark MC3426adw review: Is it easy to use?

The touchscreen makes controlling the printer’s functions a breeze. It’s easy to scroll through options with a swiping motion and the menu design makes it clear and easy to read.

You can use it to print from the USB port on the front and control printer-only functions such as copying and faxing.

Interestingly, this model has duplex printing switched on by default, while most make you select it from the options. This is a nod towards saving paper and is something I wish more printer manufacturers would do.

Lexmark MC3426adw review: What’s the print quality like?

Mono print quality is good, with sharp text and fine detail, but the high price of the printer doesn’t lift its print quality significantly above cheaper colour laser printers, such as the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw and Brother HL-L3210CW. Colour prints proved a bit disappointing, with some banding appearing when printing both colour photos and graphics.

We were also disappointed with a scanner. It’s limited to 600dpi, which isn’t enough for very high detail work and I found that scans of photos came out blurred. It’s fine for making copies of documents, though, which is its main purpose.

READ NEXT: HP OfficeJet 6950 review

Lexmark MC3426adw review: What about speed and running costs?

If you’re looking for a printer to produce pages at speed, The Lexmark C3426adw has you covered. It printed at a rate of 19ppm in our 25-page mono print test and accelerated to 21ppm in the more demanding 50-page test.

It’s also fast at printing in colour, inching past the 15ppm mark, and prints duplex pages at just under 9 sides per minute. Even the scanner is fast, capturing an A4 page at 300dpi in a mere 8 seconds.

It was a bit slower when it came to warming up and producing the first page of a print job, taking 15 seconds when printing a mono page. That’s not behind the pace we’d expect from a laser printer but it shows that its speed benefits disappear if you’re only printing a few copies of short documents. This also holds up the copying process, unless you’re making lots of copies of multiple page documents.

My biggest reservation is that the printer’s consumables are costly. Even if you opt to use Lexmark’s recycling program, which works out cheaper if you commit to sending used toner cartridges back, it still costs a few pence more per page than I’d like. Mono prints are the worst offender at 5.3p per page, while colour prints cost 13.1p per page – a lot more than, say, the Brother HL-L3210CW, which costs 3p for mono pages and 12.8p for colour. It’s hardly extortionate but if you’re printing enough to make the most of its speed benefits, you’ll notice the extra cost.

READ NEXT: Lexmark B2236dw review

Lexmark MC3426adw review: Should you buy it?

The Lexmark MC3426 is costly to buy and expensive to run, then, but for the money you’re getting a fast office laser printer with multifunctional copying and scanning capabilities.

If you can live without colour printing, then the HP Neverstop Laser 1202nw is a good multifunctional alternative that’s cheaper to buy and far cheaper to run, thanks to its toner tank which you refill from a bottle. Alternatively, if you don’t need the scanning function, the HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw is a cheaper but slower option.

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