Bearing an uncanny resemblance to some low-end Samsung mono lasers, this cuboid machine still manages a 250-sheet paper tray, a single-sheet feed and a single USB connection. Dell quotes a speed of 18ppm, but I didn't see anything more than 13ppm under test, though this is still more than adequate. Print quality is excellent on text, good for greyscale graphics but rather over-dotty printing photos. Running costs are higher than average, with a page cost of 3.6p. If the asking price looks particularly good, bear in mind this round-up quotes the manufacturer list price for all printers. The other machines are normally available for considerably less, while there's just one source and price for Dell.
Reg Rating 75%
More info Dell
Epson Aculaser M2300D
If you want a bit more than the basics in a mono laser, you have to pay a bit more, too. This very square-cut Kyocera-Mita powered laser includes a 50-sheet multipurpose tray, as well as its 250-sheet main one and duplex print as standard. It only has a USB connection, however there is an ‘N’ variant with networking available. The printer is rated at 30ppm, but you'll be lucky to see more than two thirds of this in normal use. Higher than normal resolution of 1,200dpi gives the machine sharp text outlines, though print is a little light. Running costs, at 2.5p per page, are nothing special for the class.
Reg Rating 70%
More info Epson
Next page: HP LaserJet Pro P1566
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?