Xerox Phaser 7500/DN colour laser printer

Faster than most color laser printers and able to tackle tabloid-size paper, the Xerox Phaser 7500DN is a supersized unit in its class–and so is its price tag (US$3300 at this writing). For those who need tabloid- or banner-sized color printouts, however, it does a beautiful job.

The Phaser 7500/DN raced through our performance tests. It printed plain-text pages at a rate of 28.1 pages per minute (ppm) and color pages as fast as 5.1 ppm–short of Xerox’s promise of up to 35 ppm, but still significantly faster than other color lasers we’ve tested. Tabloid-size pages are four times bigger than our letter-size print samples and will likely take even longer per page to print. The print quality was attractive and realistic overall, except for flesh tones, which tended to have an orange cast.

This high-volume unit can take paper every which way. A 500-sheet main input tray takes up to 11.7-by-17-inch paper; optional 500-sheet (US$600) or 1500-sheet (US$1200) feeders handle up to 13-by-18-inch media. The 100-sheet multipurpose tray (MPT) can take up to 12.6-by-47.2-inch, banner-size media. Duplexing is standard. My one peeve: the printer’s control panel makes you confirm paper settings every time you open a tray. On most printers, this is handled from within the printer driver, which is less intrusive.

The control panel (with a six-line, monochrome LCD) has a simple design, but I didn’t like having to back out of submenus manually. The toner cartridges are idiot-proof, with colors strikingly visible on the cartridges and the slots keyed by color. The PDF-based user guide is comprehensive, and a paper-based Quick Use Guide comes attached to the side of the printer. Oddly, the latter doesn’t cover common tasks such as replacing consumables and clearing jams.

The Phaser 7500/DN’s huge toner cartridges are incredibly cheap per page. The 19,800-page black cartridge (one size only) costs US$330 or 1.7 cents per page. The standard 9600-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges cost US$315, or 3.3 cents per color, per page. The high-yield colors last 17,800 pages and cost US$480 each or 2.7 cents per page. A four-color page using all high-yield supplies would cost just 9.8 cents. Obviously a tabloid-size page with heavy color would cost significantly more.

Look not just at what the Xerox Phaser 7500/DN costs, but also at what it does. It’s a fast, heavy-duty, wide-format printer that could print everything from a memo to a poster or a banner without blinking. Oki Printing Solutions’ C8800n is a less-expensive wide-format printer, but it’s not as well designed.

PC World (US)

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