The Infoprint 1332n monochrome laser printer is one of the fastest workgroup printers we've seen. With a built-in network card, a USB 2.0 port, no parallel port, and limited paper storage, this base model may leave some people wanting more. Fortunately, IBM also sells many Infoprint 1332n add-ons, including multifunction options, that make this printer extremely adaptable in a wide variety of workplaces. Of course, adding items such as memory and paper storage can get expensive, but the Infoprint 1332n starts out with a much lower price tag than similar business-class laser printers such as the and the . For a small but growing business, the IBM Infoprint 1332n is a smart choice.
The IBM Infoprint 1332n has the same protruding potbelly exterior design as the Dell W5300n, but instead of charcoal and silver, the Infoprint 1332n wears a bland suit of textured putty-colored plastic. At 16.6 inches by 19.6 inches by 13.6 inches (W, D, H), the 1332n's measurements are slightly smaller than those of its Dell doppelgänger, and it weighs a relatively light 38 pounds.
A downward-sloping, 250-sheet capacity output tray sits atop the Infoprint 1332n, and a wire bail and a pop-up, plastic paper support just above the control panel combine to suspend any output overflow. The control panel itself consists of a two-line, 32-character LCD and five buttons labeled Menu, Select, Return, Go, and Stop. The LCD panel clearly conveys printer messages and displays a vast array of menu choices, most of which users will never need. To see a hard copy of all of the Infoprint 1332n's menu choices at once, press the Menu button until the Help Menu appears, press Select again, and the words quick reference will surface in the LCD panel. Another touch of the Select button prints all of the menus for future reference.
The Infoprint 1332n's front panel is split into two parts, top and bottom. Two silver plastic buttons on the left side of the printer release both panels to reveal the toner cartridge and the alternative media bypass tray. The toner supplied with the 1332n is a hefty IBM Return Program high-yield toner cartridge, rated by IBM for 21,000 pages. If you choose to participate in IBM's toner cartridge return program, IBM ships you a new cartridge for $341, and you return the empty one to IBM, postage paid, giving the 1332n a reasonably low 1.6-cents-per-page print cost. If you choose not to participate in IBM's toner return program, cartridges will cost a bit more from IBM, and the disposal of empty cartridges will be up to you.
The lower half of the Infoprint's front panel covers the alternative media bypass tray, which holds 100 sheets of paper or 10 envelopes. Again, like the Dell W5300n, the Infoprint 1332n's multipurpose tray is made of a thin flexible plastic that seems like it might not survive for long in a busy workplace. However, if your business relies on envelope printing, you can buy a sturdier envelope feeder ($286) that handles up to 85 envelopes at a time.
The IBM Infoprint 1332n is a network-ready workgroup laser printer that you can easily customize to perform a wide range of printer functions in a variety of environments. The1332n derives its network readiness from a built-in Ethernet 10BaseT/100Base TX network card, and the printer's drivers are compatible with Windows XP, 2000, Me, or 98; Macintosh OS 8.6 or later; as well as Unix, Linux, and Sun Solaris. A 300MHz processor powers the IBM Infoprint 1332n, along with 64MB of installed memory. With its PostScript Level 3, PCL 6, PDFv1.3, PDFv1.3 PPDS emulation, the Infoprint 1332n accurately reproduces a wide range of fonts as well as bar codes.
But the Infoprint 1332n's customization prospects are truly astounding, though somewhat expensive. For starters, you can add additional memory, up to a total of 320MB in a variety of sizes: a 128MB DIMM costs $927, and a 32MB flash DIMM is $439. Additional paper trays for the Infoprint 1332n range from a 250-sheet paper drawer at $286 to a letter-size-only 2,000-sheet capacity drawer at $927. And you can add everything from a parallel port 1284 B interface card for your Windows 95 and NT 4x machines at $98 to an IBM M26 multifunction platform, complete with a color flatbed scanner, a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), and a 33.6Kbps fax modem for an additional $1,984.
Installing the print drivers for local, shared, or direct printing is a smooth and simple process. A printed setup guide and a manual on CD provide detailed instructions for configuring network printers. The Infoprint 1332n comes with network printer-management software MarkVision Professional, which provides a range of proactive configuration and troubleshooting tools.
The IBM Infoprint 1332n performed competently in CNET Labs' tests, averaging 21.7 text pages per minute (ppm). This score ranks it among the top three fastest laser printers, along with the Xerox Phaser 4500 (26.82ppm) and the Dell 5300W (27.35ppm). The IBM also printed graphics quickly, pumping out 19.3ppm.
The quality of the IBM Infoprint 1332n's printed text, although good, didn't particularly impress us. Larger font sizes looked dark, with dotty edges and noticeably moth-eaten smaller fonts. The Infoprint 1332n's graphics output was even less spectacular: flaws included vertical banding, stripes, little or no detail in areas of shadow, and an overall dotty almost inkjetlike quality.
Happily, however, the printer performed smoothly throughout our testing process, with relatively little fan noise for a workgroup printer. The Infoprint 1332n started printing almost instantly from its sleep mode and went back to sleep almost immediately after the last page was printed, thus conserving power.
The printer was tested at its factory default settings, which can be adjusted to improve the print speed and quality. Learn more about how CNET Labs tests printers.
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Performance analysis written by CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo.
IBM covers the Infoprint 1332n with a standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty, plus what IBM calls Depot Exchange, a must for most small businesses. With Depot Exchange, IBM will ship a replacement printer in exchange for a broken one and will pay for shipping; it will do so the same day it receives the service call, as long as the call is placed before 3:30 p.m. local time. IBM also offers a wide variety of other service plans and upgrades, including onsite repair programs.
Toll-free tech support for the Infoprint 1332n is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in all U.S. time zones. A printed setup guide ships with the 1332n along with a CD that includes a user guide, a quick reference guide, and a detailed setup guide. Manuals, drivers, and additional reference materials are available for download from IBM's Web site.