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Lexmark E250dn

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Lexmark E250dn looks very similar to the recently reviewed E350d. Sitting 10.2 inches tall, 14.1 inches wide, and 15.6 inches deep, it has a small footprint for a laser printer, making it a perfect fit for a small office or a dorm room. And weighing just 25 pounds, it's not too hard to move to a different spot should the need arise.

The input tray can hold up to 250 sheets of plain paper, and an optional, 550 sheet paper drawer ($200) brings the maximum input to 800 pages. A single sheet manual input slot with adjustable paper guides lives in the front for one off prints. The top mounted output tray has a fold out flap to corral long sheets of paper and a single sheet exit door lives in the rear of the printer (opening this door automatically engages the rear exit mode).

The input tray can be extended to hold legal size sheets, though this will cause the tray to jut out of the back of the printer for this scenario, Lexmark thoughtfully includes a snap on cover that will keep dust out of your paper tray.

The E250 series printers lack an LCD for perusing menus. The control panel is comprised of five indicator lights (error, paper jam, load paper, refill toner, and ready) and two buttons (cancel and resume).

The indicator lights shine in various combinations, and the user guide helps you to decipher their meaning.

We definitely prefer an LCD, even if it's just a two line text window, but other monochrome laser printers in this price range also lack one, so we can't fault Lexmark too much. Both the E250d and E250dn ship with a 1,500 page starter toner cartridge. Replacement cartridges can print about 3,500 pages and cost $157, for a per page cost of 4.5 cents.

If you buy cartridges under Lexmark's return cartridge program (customers promise to use the cartridge only once and return the spent cartridge to Lexmark for reuse or recycling), you get a discounted price of $132, for a per page cost of 3.8 cents. The per page costs are a bit high for a monochrome laser printer but not surprising, considering the low price of the printer itself.

Like the E350 and C530 series printers, the E250 printers employ a two part cartridge design. The photo conductor has a longer lifespan than the toner cartridges, so with this design, you don't need to discard a still good component when the toner runs out. We really like this change.

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