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9/10

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Xerox Phaser 6180VDN Colour Laser Printer

Xerox has a good range of office laser printers, both monochrome and colour, designed for SME and even corporate departments. Its Phaser 6180 comes in both V and V/DN variants and it's the V/DN model, with networking and duplex printing built in, that we're looking at here. Although, confusingly, Xerox uses the same Phaser name for its colour laser and solid-ink printers, this is a true, toner-based laser device.

The most obvious thing about the Phaser 6180V/DN is how tall it sits off the desk. The laser engine inside is mounted vertically, with the four drum and toner units fitted one above the other, so this is pretty inevitable. As it’s tall, it might be better to mount the printer on a purpose-made stand or trolley, than to sit it on the desktop.
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In other respects the printer is conventional, with a 250-sheet paper tray at the bottom of the front panel and a pull-down multi-purpose tray, which can take a further 150 sheets, directly above this that mitigates against the small size of the main tray. There's also a third 500-sheet tray, which sits underneath the printer (making it still taller, of course), that's available as an option.

The printer's control panel is simple, but shows all the necessary information. The two -line by 16-character LCD display defaults to show toner levels, which is handy, if a bit imprecise, but the screen also works well with the diamond of control arrow keys to show the printer’s well-designed menus. There are two, large, LED-illuminated strips in front of the LCD that can show error conditions across a crowded office, though there’s good network status software, too.
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At the back are sockets for USB, 10/100 Ethernet and legacy parallel connections, giving the machine the versatility to fit into a variety of environments.

Pull down the front cover and you have easy access to the four combined drum and toner cartridges. These are supplied separately in the printer’s box and are easy to install. The fuser is a lifetime component, so shouldn’t need changing.

The printer comes with support for both PCL and PostScript Level 3 and can auto switch, depending on the files sent to it. While the drivers are pretty thorough and include colour calibration, so you can improve colour rendering, there’s no facility to print directly, by plugging in a USB memory stick. There’s no keypad, either, so you can’t send a job securely and ensure it only prints when you’re by the machine.

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