These days, £260 can buy you an awful lot of functionality. The Lexmark X342n MFP offers print, scan, copy and fax facilities, and it does so through a high-speed monochrome laser engine.
The fact that it's a mono model should tip you off to the fact that this product is aimed at businesses. Indeed, the X342n is also network-ready, so it's perfect for being slipped straight into a small workgroup. Its design isn't the most attractive we've seen, but its robust casing will allow it to stand up to the rigours of business life.
Paper handling is fairly strong, with a rugged 250-sheet tray built in as standard. Should your needs be greater, you can also purchase an additional 550-sheet drawer for an impressive total of 800 pages. The Lexmark doesn't feature duplexing facilities, however.
The X342n's print performance was fairly fast, and we were able to print off good-quality text at the rate of 18.8ppm (pages per minute) – only 6.2ppm off the quoted figure. The characters weren't perhaps as dark as they might be, but lettering was clearly formed and the results never less than pleasing to the eye.
Mono lasers tend to struggle more with graphics, so we expected the X342n to be weaker on photos. The results weren't flawless, admittedly, but they were still palatable, and the Lexmark is pretty good at printing PowerPoint slides.
Fax and scanning facilities benefit from the inclusion of an automatic document feeder. However, we found the fax facilities to be rather limited, and the clunky software interface makes the process of sending out faxes rather long-winded. The scanning facilities are better, although we still felt that the results weren't quite as good as they could be – the scans were quite detailed, but the colours tended to be a little pale.