Laser Printers..

Published Date
01 - Mar - 2007
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2007
 
Laser Printers..

Continuing from last month’s mono laser test, here are the ones that lie in the mid-range

Xerox Phaser 3120

Vanilla anyone?

The Xerox Phaser 3120 is a typical, vanilla design laser printer box that better suits the back office.

Touted as a personal or small workgroup laser, this machine doesn’t boast of cutting edge features. There is only one button on the printer and two indicators for indicating paper jam and  online/offline. The Phaser 3120 connects to a PC via either USB or parallel interface; you have to opt (pay extra) for the network interface. 

The printer comes with a standard 250-sheet input paper tray and a 150-sheet output tray. An optional paper tray is available to augment the paper capacity by another 250 sheets—good enough for a small work group. The manual feeder has a capacity of 50 sheets, and that’s much better than the sheet feeders most lasers have today.

Installation was a breeze; the toner cartridge slides down in position without any problems. Driver installation took five minutes; the driver interface is nothing fancy—simple to understand and functional. Auto duplexing doesn’t make it to this printer, but a manual option exists.

Xerox claims a 22 PPM speed; we got around 18 PPM, which isn’t that bad. The first page takes around 11 seconds to print and that’s what most laser printers in this class deliver. Our combi-document took 22 seconds to print, which isn’t quite up to the mark. In contrast, the photo-target image took 23 seconds to complete despite its complexity. Of course, the combi-document is 35 MB in size and any heavy file will take longer to print on this printer.

Prints lack vibrancy and look dull, and the problem seems to be a low density of toner being deposited on the paper. Thus, some banding occured in the greyscale test.

The toner cartridge is rated to deliver 3500 pages and costs Rs 6,400, giving us an indicative cost per page of Rs 1.83—expensive. Xerox does provide an option to upgrade to a higher yield cartridge rated to deliver 5000 pages.

The Xerox Phaser 3120 has an MRP of Rs 17,000—expensive; we suggest you skip this printer.
 
Specifications
22 PPM, 166 MHz processor, buffer memory 32 MB upgradeable to 144 MB, 600 dpi resolution, USB & parallel interface and 250 sheets output tray.

Price: Rs 17,000

RATINGS
Features : 3
Print Speed : 3.5
Print Quality : 3
Value for money : 3
Overall :  3


HP LaserJet 1022n

Good for small loads
The LaserJet 1022n is a networked version of the base model LJ-1022 and is aimed at those looking for a network printer for a small workgroups. The design is refreshing, and should fit the décor of any modern office.

The LJ-1022n sports a vertical profile design that uses less desk space. This design looks great, but the paper tray juts out of the body. Also, the translucent flap sits over the input paper tray and a mere push unsettles it.

The front panel on the LJ-1022n has two buttons and three LEDs to indicate various errors. This printer comes with a 250-sheet input tray with no option to increase the paper capacity via additional trays. The 150-sheet output tray is quite flimsy. The LJ-1022n has both a USB as well as a network interface.

Installing the printer was as simple as it gets. The driver interface is neat and clean, simple to understand and feature rich. Installing the printer over the network didn’t take much effort—the driver detected the network printer immediately. The Web administration panel is very configurable and gives greater control over the printer. Anyone with moderate technical skills can setup this printer on a network.

The LJ-1022n fell short of the claimed 18 PPM by just a page. The first page takes 8 seconds to print. The combi-document took 8 and 9 seconds respectively for normal and best settings. The photo file was printed in 9 seconds.

Quality was crisp and dark. Finer details were reproduced exactly and reversed text was completely legible. Some banding was seen in the grey scale gradation test, but text was reproduced without any spread or jaggedness.

At 2000 pages per cartridge, at Rs 2950, the cost per page is Rs 1.48.

The LaserJet 1022n is priced at Rs 15,999—good value for money considering its performance, above average quality and the network option. Overall, a good laser printer for small workgroups with light printing loads.   

Specifications

18 PPM, 266 MHz processor, 8 MB memory, 250 Sheet input tray, 150 sheet output tray, USB 2.0 and HP JetDirect Printer server.

Price: Rs 15,999

RATINGS
Features : 4
Print Speed : 4
Print Quality : 4
Value for money : 4
Overall :  4


HP LaserJet P2015D

Great quality, low memory

The LaserJet P2015D is HP’s solution for high speed printing in medium-sized workgroups. We received the non-networked version of the 2015D.

The printer is designed beautifully and exudes style. It uses less desk space than older models with similar specs.

The front panel has two buttons and a line of six LED indicators—pretty useful for quick error diagnosis. The printer comes with a deep 250-sheet paper cassette and the capacity can be augmented to 500 sheets via an optional paper cassette. The output tray can hold 150 sheets, and the manual feed another 50 sheets. If you opt for the version with a duplexer unit, you can save a lot of paper by printing on both sides.

If you want networking, you have to get the P2015n version, as the one we got only featured USB. Installation was simple and the driver CD had a Flash-based tutorial which will help anyone set it up. HP also provides a suite called as the FX tool box—an application to diagnose, maintain and administer any HP printer.

HP claims a speed of 26 PPM, but we got 23 PPM—not bad at all. HP claimed a first print in 8 seconds, and they were right. The 35 MB combi-document took 14 seconds to print; because the printer has only 32 MB of memory. The photo-target disc took 17 seconds to print—slow. This printer only delivers speed when the prints are pure text or documents with low quality graphics.

The print quality is exceptionally good. Toner density was perfect, spread was minimal and text appeared sharp. Fine details were well reproduced and graininess was absent even at the base resolution of 600 dpi. Graphics are not a laser’s forte and like all other laser printers, the P2015D gives acceptable image printouts.

The cartridge is rated to deliver 2000 pages and it retails for Rs 3,265—approximate cost per page of Rs 1.63, which is expensive. At a price of Rs 17,499; we felt it should have had an Ethernet connection and a duplexing unit. Still, it’s a good buy for its good quality and just about acceptable cost per page.

Specifications

26 PPM, 400 MHz processor, 32 MB memory (max), 600 dpi, 250 sheet input tray, 150 sheet output bin, duplexer unit and USB interface.

Price: Rs 17,499

RATINGS
Features : 4
Print Speed : 3.5
Print Quality : 4
Value for money : 3.5
Overall :  4


Samsung ML-2571N

Affordable with good quality

Samsung’s ML-2571N is an entry level network laser printer. Though the design is simple and dated, this milky white printer is compact. The vertical profile design requires less desk space and the paper trays fold back to save more space when the printer is not in use. The tray design is very similar to that seen on the HP LJ-1022n.

Being an entry-level printer, the Samsung ML-2571N is devoid of any front control panel; it has one button for cancel and two LED’s for indicating errors. The input paper tray can hold 250 sheets; the output tray 150 sheets. A single-sheet manual feed is also present for on-the-fly printing needs. The ML-2571N isn’t equipped with a duplexer unit, but manual duplexing is possible.

A high speed USB port and Ethernet connection are available on the printer. Installation via USB was quick and simple, and when installing as a network printer, it was easily detected and a proper IP was automatically assigned. The Web server provides extensive and easy control over the device.

The Samsung ML-2571N delivered 19 PPM—claimed 22 PPM—which is quite fast. The heavy and complex combi-document page took 14 seconds to print—not the fastest. The complicated photo-target image file also took 14 seconds indicating that there is no lag in the print engine—it’s the underlying electronics that are slow. Overall, the Samsung ML-2571N delivers prints at reasonably good speeds.

Print quality was as good as the HP Laserjet 1022n, with occasional differences cropping up. Toner density was perfect and text showed very little spread. There was some banding in the grey scale gradation test, but it was within acceptable limits. The Samsung ML-2571N deviates when it comes to images—contrast is a problem and in darker areas too much toner ruins the details.

The cartridge is rated to deliver 3000 pages at Rs 3,800, thus the cost per page works out to Rs 1.27—superb. The printer is attractively priced at Rs.13,000—quite affordable and definitely a good buy.

Overall, great value for money considering its reasonable price, solid feature bundle and equally good performance. The running cost is also low, so anyone interested in a network laser for light loads should consider this one.
 
Specifications

600 dpi print engine, 400 MHz processor, 32 MB memory (max),  250 sheets paper input tray, 150 sheets output, USB and Ethernet interface.

Price: Rs 13,999

RATINGS
Features : 4
Print Speed : 3.5
Print Quality : 4
Value for money : 4
Overall :  4


Brother HL-5240

Great print speeds, low memory

The HL-5240 from Brother is a mid-range laser printer oriented towards a medium sized work group. This 28 PPM laser printer looks mean thanks largely to its robust looking design.

The front panel controls consist of two buttons and many LED’s for indicating common laser printer errors—out of paper, paper jam, toner empty, etc. The 250-sheet paper cassette is huge and fits flush with the body; paper capacity can be augmented to a massive 800 sheets. The output paper bin holds up to 150 sheets. The manual feeder has a capacity to hold 50 sheets at a time—quite good.

The printer also supports the legacy parallel port, apart from the now de-facto USB; Ethernet is not available as an option, which is strange considering its target audience.

Installing the printer took no time at all; a Flash animation on the CD gives all the details on how to go about installing the printer. It even shows you how to unpack the toner and prep it for usage. For Linux drivers, the CD has a link to Brother’s driver repository. The driver interface is plain but it has all the required features. If you want advanced settings, you will need to look around, though.

Brother claims a 28 PPM speed and it delivered 25 PPM—excellent. The combi-document took 16 seconds to print, since the printer has only 16 MB memory by default. When we tried printing the photo-target disc image file at full resolution (1200 dpi) it automatically reduced the resolution after claiming “memory not enough for full res printing.”

Quality was as good as any other printer; the toner density was perfect, as was text sharpness and legibility. Reversed text was printed well and even two-point text was legible. In the grey scale gradation test, banding did occur, but was within acceptable limits. Photographs were not striking, but then that’s not what this printer will be used for.

The toner cartridge is priced at Rs 4,590 and is rated to deliver 7000 pages, thus the approximate cost per page works out to just Rs 0.6—excellent. If you have a team of around eight, and don’t mind the absence of the network option, the HL-5240 is a good buy, thanks to its very low cost per page.
 
Specifications

600 dpi print engine, 266 MHz processor, 16 MB memory upgradeable to 528 MB, 250 sheet paper cassette, 9.5 Kg weight, high speed USB and Parallel interface.

Price: 15,500

RATINGS
Features : 3
Print Speed : 4
Print Quality : 4
Value for money : 4
Overall :  3.5


Brother HL-5250DN

Low running costs; fast printing

The Brother HL-5250DN comes from the same 52XX series and fixes the shortcomings of its younger sibling the HL-5240. The HL-5250 is the same as the HL-5240, except with duplexing and a network interface.

The HL-5250DN is designed on similar lines as the HL-5240 and borrows all traits, good and bad. The printer is equipped with the standard 250 sheet paper cassette and the capacity can be augmented to 800 sheets via optional paper trays. The manual feed has a 500 sheet capacity but that will be hardly used if an optional tray is fitted. The auto duplexing unit works as expected and allows printing on both sides of the paper.

The HL-5250DN comes with USB, parallel as well as Ethernet interface. Installing the printer via USB was simple and took very few minutes. However, when installing the printer on a network, some technical expertise of networks is needed. Furthermore, the Web server, while quite extensive and granular, isn’t easy to understand for a layman and isn’t polished enough. Once we got with installing the printer on network, however, we were thrilled at the options available for managing the printer.

When it comes to performance, the HL-5250DN is up to mark. The claimed speed is 28 PPM and the printer delivered 26 PPM—very fast. It can print first page in less than 9 seconds—that’s really fast and comparable to the best printers around. The combi-document took 17 seconds; the same lower memory and complexity of the document seem to be the reasons. The photo-target image took 22 seconds—slow, but acceptable.

Quality has no issues: toner density was perfect and spread was minimal. Image printouts weren’t striking, and the toner tends to saturate at darker regions in an image.

The cartridge is rated to give 7000 prints and costs Rs 4590, bringing the approximate cost per page to Rs 0.6. The printer is priced at Rs 24,900 and considering its extensive features, manageability, good performance and low running cost the Brother HL-5250 is a good buy.
 
Specifications
600 dpi, 266 MHz CPU, 32 MB (upgradeable to 544 MB) RAM, 250-sheet paper cassette, duplexing unit and Ethernet interface.

Price: 24,900

RATINGS
Features : 4
Print Speed : 4
Print Quality : 4
Value for money : 4
Overall :  4

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