Xerox Phaser 6140/N

Xerox’s Phaser 6140/N color laser printer aims for the budget-minded SMB market with its US$399 price (as of 10/6/2009). It delivers what you could reasonably expect for that cost, namely, adequate performance and a good feature set. Compared with like-priced models, it’s a lot more expandable than HP’s Color Laserjet CP1518ni but ranks slightly behind Lexmark’s C543dn in both performance and features.

As noted, the Phaser 6140/N offers a good set of standard features, plus a little room to grow. The 250-sheet main input tray includes a manual-feed slot. An additional 250-sheet input tray costs US$199. The 150-sheet output tray has a fairly sturdy, pull-out rear extension. A duplexing accessory costs US$149 extra. By comparison, HP’s Color Laserjet CP1518ni has a smaller input tray and lacks duplexing or paper options, while Lexmark’s C543dn has a bigger second-tray option and standard duplexing.

The straightforward control panel on the Phaser 6140/N includes a 2-line monochrome LCD and labeled buttons that are largely self-explanatory. One exception: The sleep button has an icon, but no word label. It is not clear that you press this button to wake up the printer. But I liked the PrintingScout application that you can install from the software CD: It lets you monitor the printer via a Web page and offers plain-English status and error messages.

The Phaser 6140/N performed well below average compared to other color lasers we’ve tested. Printed text plodded out at a rate of 13.4 pages per minute, while various color graphics averaged about 2 ppm. Overall, it’s a littler faster than HP’s Color LaserJet CP1518ni, but noticeably slower than Lexmark’s C543dn.

As with most low-cost color lasers we’ve tested, the Phaser 6140/N handled text quality well, but color graphics, less so. Simpler images like color bars and pie charts looked fine, but photos appeared grainy, even at a higher-quality driver setting. Dell’s 2130cn prints better photos and actually costs less, but its toner costs are exorbitant.

The Phaser 6140/N’s toner costs are average. The machine ships with starter-size, 1000-page black (K), cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) cartridges. Standard-size replacements all cost US$90 and include a 2600-page black cartridge (3.5 cents per page) and 2000-page color cartridges (4.5 cents per color, per page). A page with all four colors would cost 17 cents. The cartridges load pretty easily from a side door and are keyed.

Xerox’s Phaser 6140/N offers basic color capabilities for a small office or department, and it does so at a low price. But it prints very slowly, making Lexmark’s C543dn a better option in this price range.

PC World (US)

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