back to article Ten... colour laser printers

There are two main technologies that can put colour text and graphics on paper; inkjet and laser. Though inkjet makers like Epson and HP have tried to push inkjets into the lower end of the office market, it’s still dominated by colour lasers, due to their speed and the high permanence of solid toner over liquid ink. Colour …


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  1. Alan 6


    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?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A nice roundup, but I'd have liked to see something else thrown into the mix - something like the solid ink Xerox Phasers which will hammer any Laser in running costs and equal their quality.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      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?

      1. bob42

        Actually, I find the warm up smell of the solid inks when starting the first time is quite pleasant. I agree the initial start after a full power down is quite slow, but when in daily use you'd never really switch off on less you need to move it. Would have been nice to see a current model in the mix.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      not much of a review.

      The solid ink phasers can be economical in a busy office, provided you don't need to switch them off more than once every six months. Switch it off and it will waste huge amounts of ink on a start-up cleaning cycle, leave it on all the time but use it rarely and the power consumption while idle may cost more than the cleaning cycles.

      The one thing in favour of the Xerox printers (at least the high end) is that they have a real Adobe Postscript engine. This is the second review you have published this year which neglects to mention Postscript; it's the first thing I look for on the spec sheet.

  3. Nick 6

    Draw me a graph !

    What would be really useful would be an indication of total cost versus pages printed. e.g. Assume you keep the device for 5 years, it comes with an X page cartridge included, and additional cartridges cost Y and Z (colour/B&W). What is the most economical assuming 10,100,500,1000 pages per month ?

    yours lazily....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      10,100,500,1000 pages per month

      that's way beyond the duty cycle of all these printers put together...

      1. Alan 6

        I think that's the printer used to churn out Dan Brown's books...

  4. Arbuthnot Darjeeling


    I bought a Lexmark colour laser for about 2-3 hundred quid 18 months ago and the output is great. Economical to run too. Pity you couldn't find space to include one in the pack test.

    Had a couple of Epson colour acculasers and by contrast they are expensive, temperamental and I won't have one again

    1. Sooty

      same with the samsung i got, i'd have at least like toi have seen one. Ok it's a budget printer, similar price to the dell, but I can't fault it and it's probably one of the 'big names' that people will see and consider.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    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)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is an unsung hero in this category...

    The Samsung CLX-3185, £185 at Amazon - colour laserjet and scanner in one box. What more could a SOHO ask for?

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Cheap Samsung colour laser = avoid

      One thing I could ask - reliability. I had a very similar Samsung all-in-one colour laser and it worked passably well for about a year of very light use (didn't come anywhere near using up the pathetic quarter-full toner cartridges it came with).

      After that it got increasingly bad at picking up paper until it basically refused to print anything - I gave it away and have been happily using an old OKI 5300 that I got for nothing ever since.

  7. Grumpy Fellow


    It would be nice (for future reviews) to point out which printers support printing from iOS via AirPrint. With the iPhones and iPads taking over the household, I went for the wireless version of the HP CP1025 to get that capability.

  8. ChrisMcD

    Why not review the low priced ones?

    I am very happy with a cheap Samsung laser and the HP's also look good.

    This choice of machines to review looks a bit bizarre since they include iffy SoHo and overpriced workgroup ones.

    Why not take sales volumes at Amazon into account when choosing machines to review.

  9. Richard Willetts

    Solid Ink, YES!

    I have been responsible for the purchase of 4 Xerox Phaser solid ink printers at places I have worked, noone has EVER complained about the smell and the running costs, speed and quietness have been big hits with everyone, the slow startup can be remedied by not turning the printer off and adjusting the time-outs between prints. As the previous commenter said solid ink kicks traditional laser into touch EASILY if configured to suit it's usage. There should definitely be one in this test instead of the second traditional Xerox laser.

    1. Kerry Hoskin

      Solid Ink

      we only have Xerox wax printers on site, always had them from the days of the 8200, we now have 3 8560's. Always found them to be cheap to run (you'll need to program the power saving to suit your needs) and very easy to use, no big toners in multiple colours to store, just a few small boxes of ink and the maintance kits are also small. Print quality beats lasers in to the ground. We use papercut to bill our users per page.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Richard Willetts

      Actually, I am very fond of the Phaser 6x80N/DN series, so I'd rather the first Xerox got removed from the roundup, not the second :). The 6180/6280s are really nice printers, and I LOVE mine!

      The quality of the solid ink printers are really really nice. Only reason I didn't buy one was because of the amount of ink you go through to do a warmup.

      We don't print that often, which was the main reason we gave up on inkjet and went to laser. With inkjet, when you'd go to actually use the thing, the heads would be clogged, so you'd run a clean which would use an insane amount of your ink, and before you know it you're changing ink every 6/12 months and have only printed 20 pages stop! This happened with Lexmark & Epson, although I assume all inkjets are similar here. Our Phaser is still on the cheapie toner carts included with the printer, and we ended up using the printer MORE, as not having to deal with the inkjet mess made it more worthwhile to.

      As stated above, one of the major features of the Xerox printers are their major support for PostScript. This is a huge plus for those of us not using Windows.

      If Xerox manages to make solid ink not suck for those of us who don't use the printer all-day every-day, then I'll gladly switch to one. As it is, I'm planning on running my 6180N into the ground, and then once it dies stepping up to a 6280DN, or whatever the current 6x80 entry is at the time!

    3. usbac
      Thumb Down

      Not us

      We recently leased a Xerox Colorcube wax printer. Everyone here (except our manager - looking at running cost) hated it with a passion. The warm up time was manageable by setting the power management properly, but most of the issues were with the waxy print. If you rub a black and white page with warm hands, the print smears badly. The wax can also be easily scratched off with a fingernail. You can't use it to print forms because the wax print makes it very hard (sometimes impossible) to write on a printed page with a pen.

      Forget about ever leaving a stack of papers where it gets hot. I left a binder with some documentation in my car, and found I now have a block of paper. Had to ditch it. Xerox says the wax melts at over 230F. Bullshit! It may "melt" at 230F, but it sure as hell becomes glue at a much lower temperature.

      Also, the energy used to keep the wax melted all day is huge. If you have high electric rates in your area, any cost saved in toner will be reduced by the cost to keep the thing running.

      After two weeks, and several machines, we had Xerox pick it up and replace it with a "regular" color laser. Everyone is much happier now.

  10. Edward 2

    Needs price and warmup time

    Since selling price varies wildly from the manufacturers', surely it would make sense to put an approx selling price next to the RRP in the article?

    At my office, I can choose between a good Canon and a low-end HP. The latter is nearer, but if it's not warmed up, I've got time to make some coffee before the first page appears. I would think this is particularly important for a printer that's not in constant use. So, can you measure and report the typical time to first page from cold standby?

  11. Christian Berger

    Emulation would have been important for the review

    PCL5 and Postscript are essential for Windows users and still a great time saver for people using Linux.

  12. Joe Montana

    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...

  13. A J Stiles

    Important information missing

    Not everybody is running Windows. It would have been nice to have known whether these printers support PostScript or PCL natively in hardware (and therefore are easy enough to use with non-Windows systems).

    Remember, Microsoft can refuse to do business with anybody, anytime, for any reason or none .....

  14. Rufus

    Replacement Toner Costs

    It's not only the cost/page it's the affordability of the replacement toners to achieve that. For example to get the low cost per page of the Editor's choice - Xerox Phaser 6280 you have to buy the high capacity toners. The cost for each colour toner is £200 and the black £150 a total of £750 just to change the toner - probably over double what you paid for the printer!

    For a small office that's too much outlay, but ho, they do offer lower capacity toner at half the price. However rather than half the toner, then put in LESS THAN A THIRD of the toner. This increases the cost/page for colour from 8.4p to an eye watering 14p - one of the worst in the review!

    If I was a cynic I might say nasty things about Xerox! Luckily not all printer manufactures are like this!

  15. TakeTheSkyRoad

    Some thoughts regarding the review style

    After reading some of the comment I'd like to add my own thoughts.

    Firstly this is the reg and not a specialist site so I can understand why this is a quick run down of 10 printers. With barely 1 paragraph per printer there isn't actually allot you can say. I would personally like to see a bit more detail but this is following the format of ALL the other "Ten..." reviews.

    I've seen this as a good start point from which to start looking for more details and specialist review sites. In short this isn't toms hardware guide ;)

    My slant on things is a printer for home rather than office since I understand Laser printers handle occasional use better than inkjets which can clog up if not used frequently. The office angle didn't interest me really.

    I think the review though tried to cover both bases though and should have focused on the sub 300 quid range OR the 300 to 600 quid range (ignoring rrp). Also something relavant to everyone would be not just the replacement toner costs (mentioned in some but not all cases) but how long each toner cartridge should last.

  16. David Hicks

    I have that first Brother on there, 3040CN or something...

    It's quite good. It doesn't really like being fed thick label-paper through the manual feed. It'll take it and do an ok job, but it doesn't like it much.

    Decent quality and cheap though. Comes with an (x86/x86_64 only) driver for linux, which is better than nothing, but irritating for someone who has a variety of arm devices he'd like to print from too.

    (yes, I know, CUPS should mean that the can all print via an x86 box but that requires leaving the x86 machine on, and setting up CUPS properly, which seems to be something of a black art)

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