Ten... mono laser printers
Fine lines and fast pages
Product Round-up Mono laser printers have been available for 30 years and remain the bedrock of most business. From small printers in home offices to large ones in corporate departments, they print most of the commercial correspondence in the country, yet their technical specs have changed little.
They are now faster, have higher resolution and many print duplex. They also cost a lot less these days, although faster printers still command much higher prices. The key feature of mono lasers is that they print text much better than inkjets. If you don’t need colour print, but you do want clean, crisp, black text, here are ten printers you should consider.
As you get down below £100, you expect the feature set of a mono laser to be trimmed, but this machine still has a lot to offer. Its square-cut appearance includes a 250-sheet paper tray at the front, with a single-sheet tray for special media. The controls are simple but effective and, although the HL-2130 doesn’t print duplex and only connects using USB, it manages over 17ppm on longer documents, with a very quick first page out, and produces crisp dense print with a good toner-save mode. Running costs, at around 3.5p per page, are reasonable, though with a maximum toner yield of 1,000 pages, maintenance is higher than some.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Brother
Canon i-SENSYS LBP6000B
This small, bread-loaf shaped printer has a simple design and a small desktop footprint. The front panel folds down to become a 150-sheet paper tray and the top cover folds up to become a steeply raked output tray. There's a single USB socket on the left-hand side and a paper feed button is the only control. Canon rates the printer at 18ppm and I saw 16ppm on a 20-page document, which is well above average. Print quality is good, with sharp black text, though greyscales show less definition than they should. At 3.1p per page, running costs are reasonable for its class.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Canon
Next page: Dell 1130
The first thing I look at in a printer...
... is whether it'll do PostScript[tm]. Still. Yes. No mention of that in the article.
If it doesn't do postscript, the thing is a waste of my time, a hassle, an annoyance. With postscript, it Just Works[tm] with just a few lines in the old /etc/printcap.* It'll work, regardless of your OS or whether the vendor has thought to update their several hundred megabytes big driver package for the latest version of the OS, and you won't have to spread that driver over all possibly quite numerous electronic desktop emulators on the local network. If I want something special, well, I'll take the postscript file and take the postscript tools to it, checking before I print what the output will look like.
Another point to mention is that laser printers tend to last, or at least the good ones. The old laserjet 4 and 5 series is still going strong and with a bit of trouble you can still find toners for laserjet 2 and 3 series. On the other hand, the toner for that xerox (4050 or so, "workgroup size") we bought years ago as end-of-lease proved to be unobtanium right away. How confident are these manufacturers about providing toners down the road? Or is that not what they're looking to "deliver"?
And, I'm not really expecting el reg to pick up on this, but another check I make is whether there are hardware maintenance manuals available from the manufacturer's site. I usually obtain a copy and store it somewhere for future reference, but it's nice if years down the road you can still find them. Some manufacturers are very good with this. Others, not so much.
With most computer hardware, nobody cares (much, most of the time--there are exceptions). With this sort of thing, well, notice how we've gone from 300 to 600 to 1200 dpi, and from a few pages to a score per minute, over a couple decades, but really, if all you need is black and white you'll still be perfectly served with a laser that's horribly outdated by any other standard usually used in the computer industry. And long as it uses postscript, your computer can talk to it too, no sweat**.
In fact, I prefer older laser printers because their toners don't come chipped to stop working after the vendor approved number of prints delivered, whether it still prints Just Fine or not. *I'll* be the judge of whether the output is still acceptable, thanks.
* This is also why programs that print stuff shouldn't rely on frameworks this and widget sets that. They should stick to outputting postscript. It's not hard. It's a programming language. You're a programmer. What's your problem?
** So maybe you'll need to use a converter of sorts, like from centronics to ethernet. Deal.
Paper cost saving
"It also has an Eco button in front of its 16 x 2 LCD display, which saves three quarters of your paper costs"
That is nothing short of impressive, I mean, saving power and toner can be hard, but making a printer eat less paper while producing the same prints must have taken some true ingenuity.
Come on, this is a tech web site and a lot of us want to know if they will work with Mac & Linux properly, and not just Windows.
What exactly did you test them with?
Greasey fingers are just the beginning
> Its the 21stC there's no need to kill trees with out of date documents.
I would rather get a bit of dead tree wet or covered with extra virgin olive oil than some overpriced consumer electronics device.
Ah - the paper free office,,,,
When an ipad can display an A0 (16 x A4) page at 1:1, and survive 6 months at the sharp end of a building site, I'll buy one. Probably 2, as the first one would get nicked as soon as your back was turned. Until then, paper and blu-tac get the job done.
Paper isn't broken, and has yet to completely replace vellum.