Lexmark MB2236adw review: A bargain for basic jobs

If you’re willing to compromise on some features, this mono MFP is great value

IT Pro Value
Price
£123
  • Highly affordable; Good print speeds; Capable feature-set
  • Banding issues on graphics and photos; No duplex ADF; Minimal cloud connectivity

It takes a lot to stand out in the crowded small workgroup mono MFP market but Lexmark's MB2236adw aims to do just that. For a surprisingly low price, it offers print, scan, copy and fax services, a nippy 34ppm print speed plus integral wired or wireless network support.

Its compact chassis won't require much desktop space, while its dual-core 1GHz CPU and 512MB of memory means it can handle demanding print runs. The printer is endowed with automatic duplexing but the scanner's 50-page ADF is of the simplex variety and has no duplex capabilities.

Running costs are similar to other mono MFPs in this sector, with Lexmark's 6,000-page extra high yield toner cartridge and 12,000-page imaging unit returning a page for 3.1p. Apart from the greater longevity, the extra high yield cartridge doesn't offer any savings as it's precisely twice the price of the 3,000-page high yield version.

The MB2236adw delivers on Lexmark's speed claims; our 34-page Word document was churned out at 600dpi in 60 seconds with a wait of 8 seconds for the first page. The interpolated 1200 IQ and 2400 IQ driver settings don't affect speed but for general report printing, the lower setting is perfectly adequate as it delivers clean, sharp text down to 6pt fonts.

Lexmark breezed through our challenging 24-page DTP-style Word document, averaging 33.5ppm for all resolutions. Graphics and mono photos do see some improvements to detail on the higher resolutions but the overall effect is marred by an unsightly banding.

Duplexing the 34-page test print returned 18ppm while using the scanner's ADF to copy 10 pages saw single-sided copies averaging 21ppm. The scanner's ADF can convert single pages to two-sided copies but to copy both sides requires the source pages to be turned over and run through a second time.

Lexmark's Windows driver offers plenty of job control features with options to choose simplex or duplex prints and create booklets or posters. You have the three resolutions to play with, a slider bar to adjust density and you can add predefined or custom watermarks to selected pages.

Print and Hold functions are good - you can assign a PIN to a confidential print job and walk up and release it at the control panel. For multiple copies, you can proof the first run before releasing the rest and store commonly used print jobs on the printer for future use.

The printer's web interface is easy to use and helps set up wired or wireless connections - although you can't have both together. We also used Lexmark's Mobile Assistant iOS app to temporarily link our iPad directly to the printer and configure a wireless connection remotely.

The MB2236adw supports AirPrint while the Mobile Print iOS app allowed us to print documents or web pages to it and pull in scanned images over the network. We could print photos from the iPad's camera roll or directly from its camera but the app doesn't have facilities for accessing cloud storage providers.

In fact, cloud features are minimal as only Google Cloud Print is supported and there are no options for scanning directly to popular providers such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Box. Shortcuts for other destinations will prove useful though, as these are created from the printer's web console and accessed from its 2-line LCD operator panel.

We used these to set up scans directly to FTP servers, fax numbers, network shares and, once we'd added details of our SMTP server, email addresses as well. Access security is good as you can control public access to the operator panel and decide what functions, admin menus and device management features users are allowed to configure.

Cloud support is basic and graphics output quality uninspiring but Lexmark's MB2236adw is fine choice for small businesses that have a lot of reports to print. It delivers on its quoted print speeds and offers plenty of multifunction features for a minimal outlay.

Verdict

The graphics quality of the Lexmark MB2236adw may a little underwhelming, but this little mono MFP offers great features and fast print speeds at a low price

600 x 600dpi A4 mono laser MFP 600dpi simplex colour scanner 1GHz dual-core CPU 512MB RAM 34ppm 2-line mono LCD display USB 2 10/100 Ethernet 11b/g/n wireless 33.6Kbps fax/modem Duplex 250-sheet paper tray 50-sheet ADF single-sheet MPT rec. monthly duty cycle, 2,500 pages 415 x 360 x 352mm (WDH) 10kg 1yr advanced exchange NBD warranty

RUNNING COSTS Extra High K toner (6K pages), £150 K imaging unit (12K pages), £77 Overall cost per mono A4 page: 3.1p

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