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Lexmark B2236dw review: Mono a mono

For all the talk of colour printers replacing mono ones, and inkjets replacing lasers, mono lasers like Lexmark's B2236dw have yet to disappear. Strictly speaking, it's a small workgroup device, rated at a heady 34ppm and equipped with a full set of network, security and management features, but at this price it's as likely to end up in home offices and micro businesses.

Lexmark B2236dw review: Design and setup

The B2236dw is very compact, with room only for a 250-sheet paper tray and a single-sheet bypass slot for special media. On arrival you need to remove some protective card from the surface of its drum - and use caution, lest the tape holding it on stick to the drum itself. Technical setup can be a bit of a chore as well; the simple mono screen and buttons are frustrating for entering WiFi passwords, but Lexmark's mobile app offers an easier alternative.

Obviously the printer arrives with no SMTP server set up and by default, the PC driver will constantly warn you about this every time you print anything. To rid yourself of this annoyance, you have to enter the web admin interface to either configure a server, or scroll down to find the box that disables the nagging.

Lexmark B2236dw review: Print speeds

Performance, thankfully, is less of a frustration. This printer is quick to get going, delivering an initial page of text in 14 seconds from standby, and needing only another ten seconds when resuming from sleep. It reached 26.8ppm in our standard 25-page test, in which we include the time taken to spool the job. Timed from the moment printing started, it hit 32.6ppm.

Duplex is enabled by default, saving paper but slowing down single-page jobs that are flipped needlessly after printing. However, with it off, the printer delivered graphics at 19.7ppm, and with it re-enabled it hit 11.1ppm. Photos didn't take long to process, with our two-page, 10 x 8in test completing in just 15 seconds.

Lexmark B2236dw review: Verdict

This printer uses a separate drum and toner, rated for 12,000 and up to 6,000 pages respectively. Using the highest capacity toner lengthens maintenance intervals, but it only lowers running costs to 2.4p per page. That's not exorbitant compared to other cheap lasers, but it will add up. That's a shame, because with decent print quality and features, this is an appealing compact laser.

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