Dell’s recent range of small-footprint, LED colour printers appear to offer very good value for money. Indeed, on-line prices are now down to about £60, but there is a catch. Toner cartridges, which are only available from Dell, cost £218 a set for standard yield and £244 for high yield. That’s 3.0p for a black page and 16.1p for a colour one; both high. The printer itself has simple, but sleek lines, with nice touches, like a slide out-cover for the 150-sheet paper tray. Print speeds are modest, with a maximum of 8.6ppm, but print quality is much better than its price would suggest; crisp blacks and bright colours.
Reg Rating 65%
More info Dell
Epson AcuLaser C3900N
This is a big laser printer for small networks, designed to be fast and with duplex print as standard. It has an unusual design, more like a traditional photocopier, with a paper path running right to left, rather than front to back. It still only has a 250-sheet tray, with a 50-sheet multipurpose tray, though an extra 500-sheet tray is an option. Under test, the printer returned over 22ppm and 13.5spm duplex. Printed output is well above average, with dense black, bright, but not exaggerated colours and even fairly natural photos. Running costs are 2.1p for a black page and 10.9p for a colour one; both OK, but not spectacular.
Reg Rating 85%
More info Epson
Next page: HP LaserJet Pro CP1025
Solid ink, right...
While the Xerox solid ink printers produce nice looking printouts, they also produce a bad smell and need to placed in a well ventilated area. Also, if you only occasionally print with them, they waste a lot of ink on start-up and it's a slow printer anyway, especially if the printer was off.
The whole roundup is stupid anyway. The prices range from 139 to 634, and the blurb on the first page states "Here are ten, capable colour lasers you should consider for a short list" but the reviewer has given 60% verdict to two printers. Why would I put the Xerox 6010 on my short list if the reviewer states that "it may be OK". That HP is noisy, slow and the previous cheap HP carousel models were also prone to break.
Clearly the reviewer works in a retailer or distributor and reviews whatever he has handy there. And that's just fine. But these reviews should be more consistent. Comparing a £200 laptop to a £2000 model makes no sense, why do it with printers?
No mention of OS compatibility.
Even the ones running on Ethernet are not necessarily postscript compatible, and some Linux drivers are crap (or non-existant)
It's all well & good listing the running costs for the printers, but of equal importance for a small office is noise.
I've found that many colour laser printers can be incredibly noisy, especially the carousel models that rotate the toner cartridges between passes.
Any chance of adding a noise level next time you review printers?
Add to review..
Theres several important factors that are missing from the printer reviews on thereg lately, and i feel they would make the reviews far more useful.
1, Standards support - does the printer require proprietary drivers (and if so for what platforms are drivers made available), or can it work with postscript or pcl? I would always prefer a postscript printer simply because it works with everything and will continue working even long after the manufacturer has given up making drivers... Some devices (eg hp touchpad) only support pcl, some things only support postscript.
2, Airprint - lots of people want to print from iOS devices, would be good to know which printers support it.. Worth noting tho that with a small linux box you can make an airprint server for any printer that linux supports (i do this with my old laserjet)..
3, Noise - for home or small office use noise is important... some printers are even noisy when idle!
4, Startup time - from cold, and from going into powersave mode (assuming it has one)
5, Available prints in the default toners - for some people not wanting to print a lot, the default toners may last a long time... Especially true with lasers which don't dry out like inkjets, it may be more economical for some people to buy cheaper printers with generally higher running costs for very occasional use.
6, power consumption and heat output
Also a table at the end summing things up...
10,100,500,1000 pages per month
that's way beyond the duty cycle of all these printers put together...