The compact black Lexmark E240n has the same angular design as the company's E232 and E330 models. This unit adds networking through its built-in Ethernet port. Like the older printers, the E240n has the same simple two-button, five-LED control panel, so there's no LCD-based menu system for entering the network settings, but installation turned out to be surprisingly quick and simple.
The E240n handles paper just as its siblings do. The tray in the printer's base holds up to 250 sheets of paper, with legal size paper the largest it can accommodate. The tray extends out from the back of the printer, where a removable cover protects it from dust. Up to 150 pages collect facedown in the bin on top of the printer.
Because you have to feed thicker media individually through the E240n's manual bypass slot, printing more than a few envelopes at a time can become tedious. Fortunately, you can reduce the chance of jamming by folding down the rear paper exit to establish a flatter path through the printer. If you do lots of printing, or if you frequently switch between different types of paper, US$199 more adds a second paper drawer that holds another 550 sheets.
Lexmark rates the capacity of the starter toner cartridge that comes in the box as sufficient for just 1500 pages. The company offers the same $74, 2500-page replacement cartridges as for its other printers, but not the E330's more economical units rated at 6000 pages. When you include the $62 to replace the drum assembly every 30,000 pages, your cost per page becomes $0.03, which is relatively steep compared to similar printers that can accept higher-capacity cartridges. Replacing the toner is relatively simple, but you have to hold down an extra button to withdraw the cartridge from the drum assembly.
Despite having a faster processor, the E240n prints slightly slower than the E330 (but significantly quicker than the E232). The PC World Test Centre timed text pages emerging at a still-rapid 19.9 pages per minute (ppm), while graphics pages were closer to average at 8.2ppm.
The E240n's text printing showed a marked improvement over that of its siblings in our quality tests. Most characters looked sharp and nicely formed, despite the heavy-set type and the mottled appearance of solid areas when seen under artificial lighting. Our line art sample seemed a bit dark, and some of the blocks of closely spaced lines looked gritty, but banding was barely visible. Unfortunately, the E240n couldn't match these results in our grayscale image test, which came out far too dark.
Upshot: The eye-catching Lexmark E240n lets you print good-looking text (but dark graphics) easily from anywhere on your network.