The ideal office laser printer should print well and quickly, install easily on a network, offer useful business features, and expand to fit a growing office. Luckily, the Lexmark T640 has all of these bases covered, save one; its print quality is adequate but falls below the excellence of this machine's other features. The T640 even includes unique extras, such as a plug-in USB port that lets you print PDFs from a flash drive. Offices that print sensitive data, such as financial, legal, or medical firms, can take advantage of password-protected printing and account tracking. This modest-looking printer hides its big potential for growth; for instance, you can add enough paper trays to hold 3,850 sheets. Both wired and wireless networking add-ons are possible, as is built-in double-sided printing. Despite its minor drawbacks, the $699 Lexmark T640 is one of the most feature-packed and easy-to-use laser printers we can recommend for a growing office.
The serious Lexmark T640 measures 13.6 by 16.6 by 19.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 38 pounds, with convenient side handgrips for easy moving. The Lexmark T640 comes with a 250-sheet paper drawer and a 100-sheet, flip-open multipurpose tray. A 250-sheet output tray rests on top, with USB, parallel, and Ethernet ports clustered within a back panel. Atop the front, silvery control panel are an easy-to-read backlit LCD matched by menu navigation buttons, as well as a numeric keypad. A unique feature that most rival lasers lack is the T640's front USB port, which lets you pop in a flash drive and print PDF files directly from it.
The T640 configuration should be plenty for a small office, but Lexmark offers an overwhelming array of expansion options. You can add a duplexer to make double-sided prints, a 1,850-sheet output stacker, an envelope feeder, and several input drawers. The 64MB of RAM can expand up to 576MB, and you can also add a hard disk or internal wireless 802.11g networking.
In contrast to some printers, such as the, which suffer from software bloat, the Lexmark T640 offers an uncomplicated setup. We plugged in the Ethernet cable, and within seconds, the T640 spewed out a page with network settings and an IP address. Once we started the installation from the included CD, the software quickly located the printer on the network and installed drivers on our host computer--a three-minute process.
The Lexmark T640's drivers are simple and well-designed and follow the standard tab layout. The dialog box even displays icons of a piece of paper and a printer that morph to reflect changes made to the paper size, input tray, or number of copies. The more advanced driver settings include options to calibrate brightness and contrast and to enable grayscale correction.