Colour print quality of laser printers is not yet up to that of inkjets, because of the much smaller colour gamut (range of available colours) of solid, toner-based inks, compared to that of liquid inks. That said, the output from this Xerox Phaser 6120 is very good.
Both solid colours – as in business graphics – and photos are reproduced with surprising accuracy. Photo images are also free of noticeable banding and colour is smoothly graduated in areas of sea or sky. Even shadow detail is better reproduced than on many other colour lasers we've tested.
We measured print speeds of around 10 pages per minute for black text and just over 2ppm for colour. Both of these results are about half Xerox's claims, but all printer makers still quote draft print speeds. You can add an extra 30 seconds onto the first page-out time, too, if the machine has been resting in standby mode. It also takes a little over a minute for internal diagnostics and set up when you switch it on at the start of the day.
As we mentioned, this printer is based on a Konica Minolta design and in theory at least you could use Konica Minolta consumables with it. That would be an advantage, as they’re marginally cheaper than the best Xerox prices we could find.
There's one, high yield black cartridge available, producing 4,500 5 per cent pages, but each of the three colour cartridges is available in standard and high-yield versions, with the standard-yield parts offering 1,500 pages. The imaging unit is claimed to last 20,000 pages of black text, but only half this number if you're printing in colour. In a small workgroup environment, you could get through 10,000 prints quite quickly.
Using Xerox consumable prices for its high-yield cartridges, we calculate a 5 per cent black text page to cost 2.19p and a 20 per cent colour page comes out at 9.12p. These prices are reasonable for this class of printer.
The Phaser 6120 is worth considering for its colour quality alone. While it has a couple of minor flaws, such as the lack of a special media tray and a backlight for its LCD display, it produces quality colour graphics, and makes a much better than average attempt at colour photos, too. Shop around for the best deal on consumables, though.