Lexmark CX310dn review

It’s no looker, but this is a serious laser printer offering performance and quality far beyond its price

Editor's Choice
Price
£125
  • Cheap running costs; Large paper cassette; Exceptional scanning and print quality; Fast performance;
  • No integrated fax or WiFi; Large footprint;

If you're seeking a printer for personal use, you might be tempted to skip right past Lexmark's substantial CX310dn. Its imposing stature marks it out as an office printer, and indeed that's a role it could fulfil admirably, with its large 250-sheet paper cassette and a super-fast claimed print rate of 23 pages per minute. But those with more modest needs shouldn't rule the CX310dn out. At a mere 150 inc VAT, it's well within reach of the home office - and you don't need a high-volume workload to benefit from business-class performance.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Before we dig into that, it's worth mentioning what the CX310dn doesn't do. Although it's equipped with a 50-page ADF, there's no fax capability on this model: if you want to send and receive documents, you'll have to step up to Lexmark's much more expensive CX410 series.

Nor, uniquely among many rivals, does the CX310dn feature integrated Wi-Fi. You can add wireless networking with a peripheral such as Lexmark's own MarkNet N8352 USB adapter, but at 45 this significantly pushes up the price of the package. A much better bet, if your office layout allows it, is to hook it up the old-fashioned way, via the built-in Gigabit Ethernet port.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

However you connect it, the Lexmark CX310dn is a speedy printer. As we've noted, Lexmark claims 23 pages per minute, and that's not just for mono prints but colour as well - something no other manufacturer can match. In practice, we didn't quite achieve that, but speeds of 11.9ppm for our colour document and 18.7ppm for mono put the Lexmark very near the top of the pack, only just behind the Oki MC342dnw. (The Canon i-Sensys outdid them both, but that's not a fair comparison since it's only a black-and-white printer.)

Advertisement - Article continues below

What's more, that speed doesn't come at the expense of quality. Black-and-white text reproduction was faultless to the naked eye, while colour diagrams and gradients came out looking perfectly even and vibrant. You can't feed glossy media into a laser, but our photomontage looked fantastic on regular copy paper: Lexmark's toner produces rich, solid colours on porous paper in a way that inkjets just can't. If we had to criticise, we'd note that very dark detail tended to get crushed into black, but the overall impression is extremely good.

The scanning side of things is even more impressive. Our ten-page test document zipped through the ADF and onto our desktop in a ludicrous 23 seconds; even a taxing 600ppi A4 scan took just 21 seconds to arrive, something no other printer managed in less than a minute. And we were delighted with the results: the greyscale document scan was as clear and solid as you could possibly ask for, while 300ppi and 600ppi colour scans captured the overall tone of the source images perfectly. The driver errs on the side of soft images, rather than sharp ones, so if you want to blow up your scanned images you might want to choose the highest scan resolution. However, it's so quick that that's hardly a problem.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The user interface is rather perfunctory: although you get a colour screen, it's pretty cramped at just 6cm across the diagonal. It doesn't support touch either, so while the controls are clear and intuitive, you have to click around them with an old-school cursor control. On the upside, you get double-sided printing and that large 250-sheet paper cassette. Running costs are attractive too: 2.1p per mono page is excellent value for a laser, and 9.7p per colour page easily undercuts Oki, Ricoh and Xerox.

You can still save money overall by going for the Brother or Canon inkjets, but neither can match the speed or quality of a professional-grade laser printer. If you don't need fax or wireless - and if there's room for it on your desk - the Lexmark CX310dn makes a persuasive option for anyone.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 262

Verdict

There's no fax or wireless on offer and the gargantuan bulk of the Lexmark CX310dn means its hardly ideal for the space conscious, but it's hard to beat a business-grade laser for speed and quality.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/hardware/peripherals/355592/lexmark-mc3224adwe-review-compact-and-affordable
peripherals

Lexmark MC3224adwe review: Compact and affordable

11 May 2020
Visit/hardware/peripherals/355582/kyocera-ecosys-m6635cidn-review-powerfully-good-value
peripherals

Kyocera Ecosys M6635cidn review: Powerfully good value

7 May 2020
Visit/printers/29013/best-printers
Hardware

Best printers 2020

18 Dec 2019
Visit/hardware/peripherals/354337/lexmark-c3224dw-review-cheap-but-not-necessarily-good-value
peripherals

Lexmark C3224dw review: Cheap, but not necessarily good value

14 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/mobile/google-android/356373/over-2-dozen-additional-android-apps-found-stealing-user-data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020
Visit/cloud/356260/the-road-to-recovery
Sponsored

The road to recovery

30 Jun 2020