I have four Laser printers, two color Xerox, and two monochrome HP printers. None of them function once a toner runs out. You are not going to see a change there. It used to be that you could set certain color inkjets to keep on printing if color was out, but I haven't had a inkjet home printer for 15 years.
There are some pretty good reviews of laser printers. Beside quality and speed, some of the weak points to look out for are:
1. Low tray capacity. I prefer 600 pages.
2. Flimsy paper trays
3. No network connection
4. Crappy scanner software that makes it neigh impossible to scan to your computer over a network.
5. Poor or unreliable paper handling, jamming, etc.
Its very likely that you can find a good used Xerox printer for a couple of hundred dollars that will blow away the cheap home printers.
You can also get toner on ebay for the older machines much cheaper than for home machines in terms of price per page.
I am almost positive that my Dell 1320c laser *will* do black prints if a color is out.
I'd have to do some digging to see if the new Lexmark has that option- but it isn't an important feature to me.
Considering that both models are more targeted towards small businesses, that may be a factor.
I had 2 small inkjet printers at one time and one would do black prints if a color was out and the other wouldn't, but that was almost 10 years ago. The one that wouldn't pushed me to buy the Dell laser, which was on sale at the time.
I suppose if the ability to print black if a color was out is an important feature, that would require extra digging before purchase.
Scanning utilities can be challenging in a Windows environment- at least in my recent experience.
When I went to W7, I lost the WIA drivers for the Canon MF4690, which drove me to consolidate two machines. The WIA driver issue for the MF4690 is well documented on the web and I couldn't get mine to work despite downloading the new drivers from Canon. Interestingly enough, that scanner now shows up in the "printers and faxes" and I can initiate a scan through Windows- so something was fixed- but it was broken for a long time.
The lack of OEM driver support is what pushed me away from Canon this time. It would have been nice if the driver packages were updated a while ago, but that won't force you to buy new stuff. That Dell 1320c is ancient in tech time, but the drivers have been supported.
The scanner portion of the MF4690 could be controlled with VueScan, and this produced way better results than going through Windows. I never got the hang of the Canon utility.
The new Lexmark has a TWAIN driver utility that must be used to get a scan- I suppose VueScan would work there too. The Lexmark does *not* show up in the Windows "Cameras and Scanners" dialog box- probably due to the lack of WIA drivers.