Small workgroups usually don't need big-iron printers; some don't even need colour. But they always need speed and flexibility. Lexmark's E352dn monochrome laser printer is expensive compared with many small-business printers, but it's got what it takes to handle a heavy printing load.

First of all, the Lexmark E352dn is a very fast printer for its class. In our tests, text shot out at a rate of 32.8 ppm (pages per minute); graphics managed a fairly fast 7.2 ppm. Text samples we printed looked smooth, precise, and black. Photos appeared a little light and a little rough, but shading was balanced. The graphically attractive driver offers options for making booklets, posters, watermarks, and other useful printouts.

Although the Lexmark E352dn closely resembles the Dell 1720dn, it improves upon one key design feature: the control panel. You - or your harried office manager - will love the Lexmark E352dn's two-line LCD, which shows messages in plain English. Two-way menu navigation buttons surround a button labeled with a green check mark for confirming settings. The other buttons (for stopping, restarting, going back) have word labels, but even their symbolic labels are easy to understand.

The rest of the Lexmark E352dn's design is generally good. Duplex printing comes standard, along with parallel, USB, and ethernet connections. The 250-sheet, letter/legal-size input tray has a little flex, and its length guide suffered from hard-to-see markings. A 550-sheet input tray is available. A manual-feed slot feeds thicker media through to a foldout rear exit tray.

A side button pops open the Lexmark E352dn's front to reveal the toner cartridge assembly. A generously sized, 3000-page recyclable cartridge comes with the printer. The toner and the photoconductor are separate parts; though this design should make for cheaper consumables, the Lexmark E352dn's costs are just middling.

The Lexmark E352dn's automated installation requires only a few clicks to select the files and connection type. The documentation includes a largely wordless setup poster (in 14 languages) and PDF-based guides to menu options and basic use, as well as an all-encompassing user guide that covers maintenance and other topics. Network management and status utilities are available on the CD as well.


The Lexmark E352dn is compact enough to fit in a small-workgroup environment, but it's got the power and expandability to accommodate growing needs as well. The higher price includes many features that will pay off in the long run.