Despite its easy-maintenance design, the Samsung laser engine is not that good at its main function, printing colour pages at a reasonable speed. Xerox rates the Phaser at 16ppm for black pages and 4ppm for colour, from which you can work out that it makes multiple passes to build up colour pages.
In fact, we saw our five-page text print complete in 36 seconds and the colour text and graphics in 1 minute 26 seconds, giving real-world speeds of 8.3ppm and 3.5ppm, respectively. While the colour speed is at least close to the manufacturer’s claim, neither is impressive.
The prints the machine produces vary a lot in quality. While black text is densely black, it’s overprinted and gives the impression of fuzziness along the edges of its letters. Introduce colour and again you get bright, vivid colours, but little of the definition you should expect in colour graphics. Black text over coloured backgrounds looks smudged. Our test colour copy offered blotchy colours, in places quite different from the originals.
Against this, the colour photo test was less banded than some, with good detail in darker areas of shadow, but the reduced colour gamut still gives a slightly ‘30s postcard’ effect. The full A4 page we printed from a photo on a USB memory drive reproduced surprisingly well, though, so quality may depend on the image being printed.
The consumables in the Xerox machine are the four toner drums, the imaging unit and the waste toner bottle. The black toner has a claimed capacity of 2,000, 5 per cent cover pages and each of the colour toners offer half this, but the printer is supplied with cartridges offering just 1,000 and 700 pages, respectively, which seems mean.
Working out the maths gives a cost per page of 3.1p for a 5-per cent black page and 12.4p for a 20 per cent colour one. Both these figures are quite high for a colour laser device in this price bracket and both are noticeably higher than their Samsung counterparts. We haven’t tried it, but we wonder if you could use Samsung consumables in the machine to reduce your running costs.
The Phaser 6110MFP/X offers an ADF, fax facilities and better bundled software, on top of the features of Samsung’s CLX-2160N, which must be seen as a major rival. It costs £50 or so more than the CLX to take account of these, but unfortunately it suffers from that machine’s shortcomings, too. The 150-sheet paper feed tray is too low a capacity, colour print is slow and print quality, particular of colour copies, is mediocre.