Desktop Colour Laser Printers
Put some pep into your pictures
Group Test Laser printer have been hit hard by the rise of inkjet machines in the last ten years or so. Excellent inkjet print quality, especially in colour and on photo paper, caused many pundits to predict that was it for the laser - and the colour laser in particular.
But laser printer makers have rallied to the cause, and in the last couple of years, most of the major brands have now begun to offer sub-£200 colour colour laser printers as an alternative to their £100 inkjet products.
Given the price differential, why would you choose a colour laser? Colour lasers deliver much better print quality than all but the very best, most expensive inkjets, and they are able to punch out prints at a much faster rate.
To help you decide whether a colour laser is the right printer for you, we've brought together a Buyer's Guide to take you through the pros - and cons - of the category.
And if you think that a colour laser best meets your printing needs, we've also rounded up six offerings from the major manufacturers to guide you to the model that's the best one for you.
- Canon i-Sensys LBP5050
- Dell 1320c
- HP Color LaserJet CP1215
- Lexmark C540N
- OKI C3450N
- Xerox Phaser 6125
Which of these models - if any - will win a Reg Hardware Recommended and Editor's Choice awards? Find out when you review the results of our tests and read our conclusions at the end of the round-up.
I've got a HP, but the one with built-in ethernet.
My reasoning was simple. After having had many ink-jets, I was fed up with them. The Colour laser just starts and prints, every time. Apart from loading it with paper, there is nothing to do. No cleaning, no ink tanks every 20 pages, no missing lines or blotchy bits.
As for photo printing, it's as good or better on plain paper as a good quality photo printer in "quick" mode (without the smudges).
To be honest, when I want photos I send them to a lab, I've never found a printer that can match them except dye-subs, and they aren't cheap unless you put a lot through them, and there are questions about how long the prints survive.
Also the samsung unlike most of the overpriced tat under review costs less to run and will talk to linux boxen without the owner having to jump thorugh hoops.
What about the Samsung CLP315
The Samsung CLP315 which is available for under £125 should also be included in this survey.
Spot on, wet ink is a dumb technology
Wet ink is stupid. It takes ages to dry (so you have to print pages individually and lay them out to dry somewhere), and it dries out in the cartridge if you don't use it up fast enough. And on top of that, per page it costs about five times as much (depending on the brand of course).
If you want to print photos, there's self-serve kiosks in supermarkets that can do it for 15c a pop, and it doesn't even take that long. Unless you're printing photos pretty much every day, you'll spend as much time and effort printing out duds and cleaning the print head as it would take you to get in the car and go to the shops to get them done.
Long live laser printers.
Colour Laser printers have no where near the same colour space as an inkjet printer. A quality inkjet will be several times larger colour space than the best lase printers.
Check up on ICM colour profiling. You have to downgrade the output of the inkjet to match a laser printer. ICM profiling in simple terms makes the output of your better devices 'dumb' down to the best quality of your weakest device. If it didn't you couldn't colour match outputs.