Lexmark MS320 and MS420 Review

Good: Lower printing costs, due to Lexmark Return Program, Unison Toner and extra-high-capacity aftermarket toner (on MS421dn), 900-sheet maximum paper capacity.
Bad: Doesn't accept 11" x 17" paper, hard disk drive and wireless connectivity aren't available, even as an option.
Bottom Line: Compact black-and-white printers for the small workgroups that don't require color printing or multifunctionality.
Vendor:
Product:
Price:
Intended Users:
Lexmark
MS320 / MS420
$199-$299
Small workgroups
Speed Black:
Speed Color:
Processor:
Memory:
38 ppm / 42 ppm
Not applicable
1 GHz
512 MB

Product Overview

Lexmark has refreshed its monochrome (black-and-white) printer and MFP lineup intended for small-to-large-sized workgroups. The new devices include upgrades, such a faster speed, mobile functionality, enhanced environmental features, and extensive security.

Two of those devices is the MS320 / MS420 Series, which are the single-function versions of the MX320 and MX420 Series. The MS321dn ($199) prints at up to 38 ppm, while the MS421dn ($299) prints at up to 42 ppm. Both printers include a two-line monochrome display panel.

There’s a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of memory that’s not expandable. First-page-out-time is up to 6.5 seconds. PCL and PostScript printing language are supported. Other standard printing languages include direct PDF, direct image, personal printer data stream (PPDS) and Microsoft XPS.

USB and Ethernet connectivity are standard.

More details on both printers is in our Features section below.

The MS321dn and MS421dn provides compact features for small workgroups that don’t require color printing or multifunctionality.

Features

Paper handling starts with a 250-sheet tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose feeder. Lexmark offers optional paper trays for up to a maximum 900 sheets. They include a 550-sheet locakable tray, a 550-sheet tray and a 250-sheet tray. The trays can accept paper from envelope-size up to legal-sized (8.5″ x 14″).

Output is a 150-sheet bin. Duplexing is standard. The maximum monthly duty cycle is 50,000 pages on the MS321dn and 100,000 pages on the MS421dn. However, Lexmark recommends a monthly page volume range of 500 to 6,000 pages (MS321dn) and 1,000 to 100,000 pages (MS421dn).

As with its older printers and MFPs, these devices use Lexmark’s Unison Toner. The Unison Toner’s print system has a separate toner, imaging unit and fuser, using a multi-piece architecture design that leads to reduced toner waste and long-life system reliability.

It also prints at up to 1,200 dpi for crisper print quality. And it alerts users when supplies are needed (e.g., low toner warning and number of pages left to print).

Just like it’s done for many years, Lexmark offers its Return Program, which is a loyalty program that provides customers with a free high-yield toner cartridge for every 10 toner cartridges sent back to Lexmark for recycling. It also provides a free imaging kit when needed. Consumable prices under the Return Program tend to be significantly cheaper.

Users have a choice of a 6,000-page aftermarket toner, the 15,000-page high-capacity toner (on the MS321dn) or the 20,000-page extra-high-capacity toner (on the MS421dn).

Here’s our calculation on the cost per page for each device:

  • MS321dn: 2.3 cents (based on 15,000-page toner)
  • MS421dn: 1.9 cents (based on 20,000-page toner)

They’re very reasonable operating costs. Users can also take advantage of other features to help keep printing costs down, such as sleep mode and duplexing.

Both devices include strong security features that’s present on Lexmark’s other printers and MFPs. Some of those features include user authentication, network security, document security, and secure remote management.

Finally, there’s a one-year limited warranty.

  • Automatic Document Feeder?
  • Duplexing?
  • Ethernet Connectivity?
  • Wireless Connectivity?
  • Mobile Printing/Scanning?
  • Finishers?

Shortcomings

Both devices don’t accept ledger-sized (11″ x 17″ or A3) paper. Also, they don’t include a hard disk drive even as an option. And finally, wireless connectivity is not offered.

About

Lexmark creates innovative imaging solutions and technologies that help customers worldwide print, secure and manage information with ease, efficiency and unmatched value.

Send feedback or corrections to feedback@betterbuys.com.

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