back to article Desktop Colour Laser Printers: Best Buys

While any of these six printers can turn out a decent business page, with sharp black text and vibrant colour graphics, some definitely have more to offer than others and two stand out. The Reviews... Canon i-Sensys LBP5050 Dell 1320c HP Color LaserJet CP1215 Lexmark C540N OKI C3450N Xerox Phaser 6125 Colour Laser …


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  1. Mike Watt

    Running Costs

    You didn't seem to take power consumption into account when calculating the running costs. Your own figures show the Xerox uses 50W in standby whereas the HP uses a much more svelte 11W. I'd like to see the difference in cost if both machines were left on standby for a day or even a week.

    And that's without mentioning the consumption when running - ranging from 253W to 480W. Depending on how much you print, that could really add up.

    1. John Diffenthal
      Thumb Up

      That's an excellent point for home users

      Such a good point that I went back to the review of the Dell 1320c which shows quite correctly that stand-by power consumption is 35W. I doubt that my machine is in stand-by for more than 5 minutes (it is user selectable) and then it drops into Power Save mode where consumption falls to about 3.5W.

      Given that print power consumption is at the lower end too, I'm more and more glad that I've bought the Dell.

      My sole complaint with the machine is that some of the ideograms for the manual registration of print output are difficult to interpret, but since I have never seen them mentioned in any review I can only assume that no-one except me has ever got around to looking at them. Auto registration works fine by the way.

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good comparison

    Glad to see this sort of comparison as a cheap laser printer has a number of advantages, most noticeably that they don't dry up if infrequently used. The large paper reserve, and resulting infrequency of filling, is also good if small children (or technically challenged people) use it as it minimises that opportunity for damage.

    Also glad to see MacOS & LINUX support being discussed in each case! In my case I went for the slightly more expensive OKI C3600 as it has postscript support and "just works".

    Finally, what of the yellow tracking dots? Following from you can see some EFF privacy tests.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Dell 1320c - OSX support

    A Mac OSX driver for the Dell 1320c is available from Dell's Support web site. This works fine on My iMac with OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

    1. Tit for hat...

      Dell 1320c - OSX support

      Agreed - I've been printing from my 1320c for about 2 years from my Macbook Pro... no issues.

  4. Rolf Howarth

    Running costs

    I think a simplistic running cost comparison between laser printers and ink jets under ideal conditions is wide of the mark. To me, the biggest difference, and the huge advantage of colour laser printers, is that the INK DOESN'T DRY OUT.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have replaced ink jet cartridges early because I was getting stripey print outs, or the amount of ink I've wasted cleaning the heads. I have even had to throw out an otherwise perfectly good ink jet printer before now because I didn't use it enough and the print heads were fatally clogged up with dried ink (though not before wasting money on yet another complete set of ink cartridges trying to fix it... grr!)

    The main thing that persuaded me to buy a laser printer though was how hard the guy in Staples tried to persuade me that an ink jet was better. It's obvious what they make their money from.

  5. Chris Miller

    Verb. sap.

    Never mind the sticker price, it's the cost per page that is the significant factor. If you're doing more than a few hundred pages a month, it may well pay you to look at higher capacity printers. Although they can be 2-3x the purchase price, the lower cost per page can make them cheaper overall.

  6. Svein Skogen

    Missing Printer in test

    The Xerox tested here is the 612x ... winprinter. Wouldn't it have been fairer to use the 618x postscript printer int this comparison?


  7. James Bridge


    There seems to be two sets of comments on this article which is somewhat confusing.

    I may have missed it, but the facility to do duplexing isn't mentioned. I'd guess that in this price range two sided printing requires a manual two pass approach.

    I would also like to second the earlier comment about how good it is to see comments on Linux and Mac OSX drivers - many reviews don't mention this aspect. Within my family we have a Canon all-in-one networked B&W laser printer/copier/scanner and it is excellent except for the fact that it is Windows only and there is no support for either Linux or Mac OSX. (We use all three operating systems and have to transfer everything to Windows before it will print!)

    1. John Diffenthal
      Thumb Up

      Duplexing on the Dell

      Auto: The print driver will orient the first page correctly depending on whether you are flipping the pages on the short or the long side. You then take the output and drop it into the paper tray the same way round and press the continue button on the front of the machine.

      Manual: The user can take the printed output and reinsert it in the paper tray after rotating the pages 180 degrees. Send a new print instruction to the printer and collect the output.

      Auto works fine, Manual can produce wayward results depending on the operator ...

  8. Jerome 0


    Great article, but where are the links to individual pages? Apologies if I'm just being blind, but I had to click through every single page to skip to the conclusion.

  9. The Impostor

    Data Representation

    I'd just like to comment on the wholly inappropriate use of line graphs to represent the data on the speed and cost tests. Such graphs are for representing continuous data where sampling has occurred at particular points and it is assumed that the data follows the line between the points. For example, I should be able to read from the graphs that if there was some magical hybrid printer which is half HP CP1215 and half Lexmark C540N then I should expect 13.1 ppm black text performance and a colour page cost of 17p.

    A simple bar chart would have been far more appropriate.

  10. Jamie Kitson


    This has to be the most confusingly set out story I have ever seen on the reg, apparently different comments on every page, no direct links through the story and sub-page numbers within the pages.

  11. Andrew Hodgkinson
    Dead Vulture

    The web supports pictures, you know...

    Thanks for a group test of printers which didn't at any time show a single solitary scan or photograph of the printed output from the printers you tested. The reader is left guessing at how things look from your prose and trusting that your reviewer judgement and priorities for image quality happen to precisely match theirs.

  12. a walker

    OS agnostic printing

    After being responsible for buying printers for over ten years, printer drivers, running costs and a good standard of printing have become key purchasing decisions (network and duplex support being mandatory requirements). Being able to print from a diverse set of computers and operating systems reduces support calls and complaints from management. Low running costs keep Accounts from making complaints about the consumables budget, while a good standard of printing (improved printing speed and quality compared to previous printer) and everyone is happy.

    I have found that buying a printer which is capable of printing PCL5, PCL6 or Postscript (or a clone) minimised printing issues at is it possible to get a driver for any OS which supports these no matter what their age. Printers that use Host based printing are to be avoided at all costs, and are best left for the home user to waste the time and money on.

    Having recently purchased an All in Printer for personal use, it is a mistake I will not making again. The driver software is bloated, too complicated, causes the printer to disappear every month requiring a complete re-install. Why can All in One Printer manufacturers provide a consistant standard interface for all printers to access Scanning and Faxing functions. How difficult would it be to install a standard web server which listens on one port for Scanning control and another for Fax control. They all have to have their "proprietary interface" which changes with every printer model, so they have to keep on developing buggy drivers. Its would be nice if European Commission investigated the printer manufacturers for collusion in failing not to come up with a open and free standard method of accessing these functions; there is no reason to have a continuously changing "proprietary standard" unless it is to exclude the competition..

    1. Spoonguard

      Probably not collusion

      Don't confuse collusion with incompetence.

  13. Real Ale is Best

    Post your own message

    I used to own a Phaser 6110.

    Terrible printer.

    Linux support is patchy. The drivers managed to saturate a page with toner, such that it wrapped itself around the fuser, and I had to dismantle it to remove the paper. The fuser constantly overheated. The drivers sometimes produced blurry images, and at others quite crisp. Very slow printing (esp in colour). Oh, and it broke completely just after running out of its first set of toner. (I have some almost fully cartridges, if anyone wants them!).

    I now have a Lexmark C543dn.

    *Much* better.

    It fully supports Linux, can duplex, really fast colour printing, great web interface, where you can change loads of tweaks, including manually adjusting toner balance.

    You obviously get what you pay for.

  14. Steve Armitage

    Cost per Print

    Looking at the cost per print I'm staggered - the company Im associated with offer the Kyocera FS C-5200DN and the FS-C5300DN at 1.15p Mono and 6.7p Colour - toner, 4 hour call out and service included! (that includes IT support) as a managed print solution.

  15. Matthew 3

    Samsung CLP-315?

    I'd have liked to have seen this one included in the review. It is listed as the world's smallest colour laser printer and as someone with limited desk space I wanted a printer which took up no more room than the inkjet I'm chucking out. Is it any good?

    I would also agree that for me the biggest cost of inkjet printing was dried-up cartridges. I sometimes don't print anything for a month so it was costing me a fortune: unless I remember to do a weekly printout to keep it going, I need to replace four loads of ink almost every time I print.

  16. thomas k.
    Thumb Up


    I've been very satisfied with my CLP-315. Small footprint, weighs 1/3 of comparable home color lasers, reasonable fast, not overly loud; B&W is crisp though color is a tad ... well, it's color.

    Price is very reasonable, also, $119-169 US & that includes wireless networking.

    I don't print very often and because of this (and living in a warm, dry climate) I had the same frustrating experinces with inkjets as Rolf. Never again, though.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Cost Per Page Is Not Accurate!

    Printer manufacturers these days seem to use funny math to determine cost per page. Sure there's the ISO test BUT the hidden secret is you may get that if you print "x" number of pages with all the colors consecutively but nobody actually prints like that.

    If you print only a few pages at a time and they don't have 5% or more of EVERY color, for example someone printing mostly black and white text, you may be alarmed to find out you haven't printed the equivalent of 100 x 5% color pages when your multi-thousand page rated color cartridges have ran out of toner.

    This can result in what seemed like good buy becoming a perpetual money pit. We bought higher up the food chain than any of these models reviewed and end up wasting several hundred dollars worth of toner a year because of the above mentioned issue and the cost doesn't run into the thousands of dollars only because once we realized how wasteful of toner they can be, we immediately halted printing on them and send anything that doesn't absolutely have to have color to our B&W lasers instead.

    There ought to be lawsuits about this kind of deceptive advertising of cost per page, and at the very least new ISO tests mandated that more accurately reflect real-world print jobs.

    1. John Diffenthal

      There's a reason that the cartridges come in different colours

      If you use the Black toner more quickly than the other colours, replace it and keep the other cartridges until they need replacing - don't change all 4 cartridges just because you are out of one colour.

  18. HobbleAlong

    Linux support?

    To even report on printers that don't at least support windoze/MAC/Linux is a total waste of time. To say that the best is one that doesn't support Linux is ludicrous. Networking is pretty much a necessity nowadays as well. Overall your review is a waste of server space and bandwidth.

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