- Review Price: £402.96
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.
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.
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.
Xerox rates the Phaser 6180V/DN at 25ppm in black and 20ppm in colour. Our five-page text print completed in 19 seconds, giving 15.8ppm, but when we increased the job size to 20 pages, this went up to 20.7ppm, which is not far off the headline figure. Duplex print was slower, but the machine still managed 15.3ppm. Colour text and graphics print was slower still, at 12ppm, but again this was for a small, 5-page document.
Black text print from the Phaser 6180VDN is particularly fine, with no toner spatter that we could see and clean and well-formed characters looking almost like dry print. Colour output is also very clear and colours are bright and vivacious, ideal for spectacular graphs and charts in reports and brochures, but with some slight mis-registration of black text over colour.
Our photographic test print was unusually pastel shaded but this is no bad thing as photo prints from laser printers are prone to over-strong colour rendition from a limited gamut, resulting in rather artificial reproduction. Here the colour looks much more natural and is not that far off the output from a reasonable quality inkjet printer.
The only consumable costs are the drum and toner cartridges and at Internet prices these come out at around £115 for 8,000 ISO black pages or 6,000 for each of the colours. Standard yield cartridges of 3,000 and 2,000 pages are also available at around half these prices. Using the high-yield versions gives costs per page of 2.23p for black and 7.98p for colour print.
These costs are good for a general-purpose colour laser and they offset the relatively high purchase price of the machine. When combined with the low maintenance design of the printer, they give a very reasonable overall cost of ownership.
This is a good colour laser printer for workgroup use in an SME environment. It prints quickly and holds up well in duplex mode, too, where you can make paper economies simply by specifying the duplex option in the driver – you could set it as default. Having a PostScript interpreter as standard is also a cost saver and the twin paper trays, even though the multi-purpose tray is intended for occasional use, is better than the single-sheet feed offered by some competitors.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 9
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