Print quality was surprisingly unimpressive. While text was precise, it was also quite light in comparison with other machines in this price range. Under magnification, though, the characters were well formed and there was very little spread, typical of laser print – perhaps we have just grown used to slightly darker and more definite text.
What was more concerning was the banding apparent in areas of greyscale toning, both in business graphics and photographic reproduction. Our text and graphics print showed noticeable striping in areas of grey ranging from mid to dark. These were also apparent in the area of graduated tone in the sky of our test photographic print.
Print speed is pretty impressive and although the printer doesn't achieve the 20 page per minute claimed throughput, we did see our five-page text document complete in just 24 seconds, giving it a real-world, default text (i.e. not draft) output speed of 12.5ppm. Xerox also claims a 10 second first-page-out time, but under test this was only realised if the machine was already awake and printing a simple text document.
The speedy response continued with our text and graphics print and the 3 x 5in photo sample, which completed in just 21 seconds. These are very commendable results for a printer costing under £200.
While sleeping, the printer is very quiet, but noise levels rise to over 50dBA when printing, which makes it noisy for its class. It might be difficult to take a phone call if the Phaser 3150 was printing while situated on the end of your desk
Xerox supplies two different all-in-one print cartridges which, like HP’s, contain both developer drum and a supply of toner. The 3,500 page cartridge costs £78, but it's much more economical to pay an extra £11 for the 5,000 page version. Using the higher yield cartridge in our calculations, we obtained a cost per page of 1.24p, a good result and one which means you're not paying for the comparatively low asking price with a consumables sting.
All in all, this is a reasonable printer with a fast throughput and most of the typical facilities you would need for day-to-day business printing tasks. While neither particularly quiet nor with exceptional graphics output quality, it is fast and cheap to run and at the price is a pretty good buy for regular duties.