Color Laser Printers: Fast and Affordable!

pschmid

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For two years now, manufacturers have been offering some particularly economical models, and HP has even broken new ground by launching a color laser - the Color LaserJet 1600 - selling for less than $300 in mass-retail chain stores.
 
This was simply a VERY excellent article. My wife and I might be shopping for a printer soon and we discussed color laser technology. We had a little monochrome brother laser printer but it died halfway through printing our wedding programs. After that experience I'm willing to pay a premium to give HP a try.
 

Moetop

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"Since the combined cost of the four cartridges is actually higher than that of the printer itself, it's actually better to replace the whole printer when the cartridges are empty. This also gives you the benefit of a fresh warranty."

Only if the cartridges are not "starter" cartridges and are only 1/2 full to begin with.
 

dwholler

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You mentioned OKI in the beginning of your article but didnt review one..

OKI is a pioneer in Single Pass Color Technology and also a leader in TCO, you should have reviewed one of their outstanding products!
 

Milleman

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The article was interresting but not as thorough as one would expect. It fails to mention that DPI resolution is a very key issue when it comes to laser printers. Especially CLP:s (Color Laser Printers). A CLP must mix and blend four colors on a very tight spot, which therefore can give some artifacts in surtain types of printings. The total color resolution will therefore not be 600 DPI in color prints. Most are the brands try to enhance this issue thru some fuzzy logic that will expand the DPI resolution to 600 x 1200 DPI for example, which in fact is a virtual resolution. Don’t get fooled by the sales guy that try to convince you that the printers resolution is 1200 DPI. It is not. The native hardcore resolution is still 600 x 600 DPI. In fact, the article did not even mention anything about the DPI resolution on the tested models. That’s a pity. Further on… Most of the makers also put wax in the toner mix, in order to make the print shine even more. The article doesn’t mention this either.

The second generation CLP:s is already on the move, which will offer a true native 1200 x 1200 DPI print. These are by far better on printing color pictiures etc. Artifacts like “banding” is a lot less appearent on a 1200 DPI machine.

Before you get loose on a shopping sprey for a Color Laser, I would recommend reading the following article:

Learning what to expect from the new generation of color laser printers

/Milleman
 

prt123

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I am begining to lose faith in this sites objectivity. You leave out Dell notebooks in a supposed 17 inch notebook comparison. In this article you leave out the Samsung CLP 510N. Staples routinely sells it for $299 which includes a built-in duplexer, 250 page paper tray, and is network capable. Quite an omission on your part, but you do include two HPs. :cry:
 

Luscious

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Only if the cartridges are not "starter" cartridges and are only 1/2 full to begin with
This is true for inkjets as well. You can always tell just by comparing their "weight" to a replacement one for sale. Companies like HP may argue about the ink quality and the parts they use, but the bottom line is they are grossly overpriced.

I remember one scenario where I took the printer back to the store within its 14 day return period after a small print job I had - turned out the cartridges were empty after only a hundred pages. And they gave me a full refund no questions. :D

I am begining to lose faith in this sites objectivity.
The article was interresting but not as thorough as one would expect.
I have to generally agree, many important points were missing, other models should have been included, etc... It seems someone was in a hurry to get this article out the door.
 

Whizzard9992

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Only if the cartridges are not "starter" cartridges and are only 1/2 full to begin with

Indeed. Caught that right off-the-bat.

It makes you wonder how accurate their "Price per page" chart is, since they're probably estimated, and based on starter cartridges no less.

Some things that would have been nice to see:

1) The real appeal of Laser printers is the fast printing at high DPI. How high does the DPI on these printers go, and how good is it really? Is there a noticible qualitty difference for photos at 1200 DPI vs. 300?

2) Hardware Longevity. It would have been nice (tho a waste of paper) to see these printers put through some sort of stress test.

3) Drivers. Software is so key with printers. How's the interface? What's the memory footprint just for having the drivers installed? Did the links always work when you updated the drivers? How's network support? Do the drivers support PCL, PostScript, or something proprietary?
 

rodney_ws

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Just to repeat something the article already said... I work at a hospital with several HP 2600N printers and the consumables are outrageous... we got the printers for $299 ($100 rebate) and the set of consumables (4 toner cartridges) totaled $320... insanity! At least it did come with full toner cartridges... however these "full" cartridges still only last around 2500 pages. If you're not doing a large volume of printing it's possible the cartridges will last the life of the printer... if that's the case, maybe it's not such a terrible printer... if not, hide your wallet!
 

BWMerlin

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This come at a good time for me as my old's are looking at getting a colour laser printer how ever I also found the review lacking in particularly in regards to network support. It would have been nice to know how those printers with network support faired running on a network in regards to queuing and so forth. This would have made it a lot more relevant for home users with networks and several computers as well as small business and organisations as this whole article seemed to be about affordable laser printers for those groups of people and yet it didn’t say how they ran in network environment where they will more than likely be run. Maybe they can do another one with more printers and focus on the issues that they missed.
 

rodney_ws

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Based on watching our 2600's at work, I believe that if that printer is any indication of the capacity of the printers being reviewed they will all do just fine for home network use. The cost / page is enough to make me pass on them however.
 

poccs

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Since the article focuses on speed and affordability there are a couple more printer features to consider:

1. Speed: first page out.
2. Affordability: power consumption in printing and standby/sleep. Konica Minolta printers have about twice the power draw of a HP printer. This can add up to some serious savings. Not to mention the house lights flicker everytime the Minolta prints - not so with HP.
 

mathog

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I've been partial to Genicom printers for a long time. Usually they showed up with Digital, Compaq, IBM or Xerox badges on them though. I can't say what their quality has been since Tally took them over. In any case, the printing has been good to excellent and these printers have tended to last a long time, which is a good thing, since it's invariably cheaper to replace one than to repair it. They are currently running a deal where they'll sell a printer for $1 (normal price $499) if you also buy two sets of color print cartridges.

https://www.suppliesmax.com/tg/GETPrinter.cfm?PFamily=T8016

I've not used that particular model but externally it looks just like the cL160 we have at work which I have been quite pleased with. It may be possible to get this deal through one of their resellers for even less, since "estore" prices for most vendors tend towards the high end of the market range. The 3 color cartridges are $154 each for 6000 pages, black is $99 for 8500 pages. There is no price break on a full set, it's just the sum of the parts. $561/6000 is about 9.4 cents/page just for toner. Your actual price will of course depend a lot on coverage. The imaging unit at $350 and only 30k pages tacks on another cent or so per page.

The old genicoms were rarely reviewed anywhere but reviews for the T8016 can be found with google. There's a similar deal on the T8024 but it requires you buy 12 sets of cartridges!
 

Whizzard9992

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I've been partial to Genicom printers for a long time. Usually they showed up with Digital, Compaq, IBM or Xerox badges on them though. I can't say what their quality has been since Tally took them over. In any case, the printing has been good to excellent and these printers have tended to last a long time, which is a good thing, since it's invariably cheaper to replace one than to repair it. They are currently running a deal where they'll sell a printer for $1 (normal price $499) if you also buy two sets of color print cartridges.

https://www.suppliesmax.com/tg/GETPrinter.cfm?PFamily=T8016

I've not used that particular model but externally it looks just like the cL160 we have at work which I have been quite pleased with. It may be possible to get this deal through one of their resellers for even less, since "estore" prices for most vendors tend towards the high end of the market range. The 3 color cartridges are $154 each for 6000 pages, black is $99 for 8500 pages. There is no price break on a full set, it's just the sum of the parts. $561/6000 is about 9.4 cents/page just for toner. Your actual price will of course depend a lot on coverage. The imaging unit at $350 and only 30k pages tacks on another cent or so per page.

The old genicoms were rarely reviewed anywhere but reviews for the T8016 can be found with google. There's a similar deal on the T8024 but it requires you buy 12 sets of cartridges!

Insert shameless plug here... :roll:
 

mathog

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Insert shameless plug here... :roll:

Just to be clear, I don't work for them, don't own their stock, etc.
I just like their printers. Since most people have probably never heard of Genicom and/or don't know that they build some of the current Tally printers it seemed worth putting it into this thread. Mostly because none of these printers were included in the review that started this thread, which included only 3 brands of printers.
 

fdiskit

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I am begining to lose faith in this sites objectivity. . . In this article you leave out the Samsung CLP 510N. Staples routinely sells it for $299 which includes a built-in duplexer, 250 page paper tray, and is network capable. Quite an omission on your part, but you do include two HPs. :cry:

I too wonder why the Samsung CLP-510 wasn't reviewed - a color laser printer for under $300 with a duplexer standard. Oh, and doesn't come with all the crapware that HP installs with *any* of its SOHO/SMB perfs these days . . . the main reason I no longer buy HP products :roll: . I have the skill and could spend the time slipstreaming out all that garbage, but why? Oh, BTW - cheapest HP product with a duplexer these days is over $2K

Not that the 510 is all wine and roses - the toner cartridges retail for about US$110 each for 5K pages - so to recharge all four carts is about $450. To make it worse, the carts have a chip that counts pages each cart uses, whether it's for two dots or twenty square inches of a toner. When you hit what the cart is rated for (2K starters, 3K, 5K, or 7k pages) or run out of toner, whichever is first, the printer stops working AT ALL, even if you just want to print black. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to find reputable aftermarket cartridges for about $40 less per. You can even put in your own chips if you are so inclined and handy with a soldering gun.

Only other complaints I have about the 510 are a) weird memory upgrade requirements (pseudo-proprietary) (but I can say the same about HP) and b) very limited linux support.

Most of these problems won't affect the average SOHO user. However, I tend to not consider THG readers average users, regardless of the severe lack of good comparitive info in this article. (C'mon, guys, you have HOW MANY CPUs in the roundup?)
 

PS

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I bought a Samsung CLP-550 laser for a while ago. It was sold with full-size toner cartridges. (Black 7000p, and Color 5000p according to Samsung).

It replaced a NEC Superscript laser that according to NEC has a cartridge for 4000 pages (black/white). I thought these cartridges were too expensive, about 230 US$/pcs in Sweden. They lasted for 3800 pages/cartridge in use (average of 5 full cartridges).

The Black Cartridge of Samsung CLP-550 was empty after about 3000 pages (about 500 of the pages were partly in color). It includes about 300 pages by "shaking" the Black Cartridge after the printouts became "light" and the display said "Replace". I'm on the second 7000p black cartridge now. They cost about 155 US$/psc in Sweden.

When I compared 5 "similar" laser color printers before purchasing (using manufactures claims) Samsung was one of the cheapest. It end up to be almost as expensive to use than the old NEC superscript (5.2 cents/page instead of NEC's 6).

NEC lasted 95% and Samsung about 40% of the manufactures claim. Do you think that differencies this big are really acceptable?

I suggess a testing method that compare the amount of "5% pages" (calculated if necessary) to the manufacture's claim. This is the best way to compare "any" printers on the market.

I've tried to figure out why Samsung's claim is so inaccurate. One thing I've noticed is that the waste toner cartridge is "quite full" after only 3000 pages. Another thing I've noticed is that the printer "stops" regularly after a few hundred pages and "stay still a while making same noises than it's turned on. Like it was cleaning itself or something. It actually takes so long time until it continues to print that I was forced to increase Windows' time-out setting for the printer from standard 45 seconds to prevent displaying the annoying message.

I've also problems with the duplexer. When I printout more than about 6 double-size pages printing stops with an error message. But if I print max 5 pages at a time it works properly.

Mayby I should mention that the printer is connected by parallel cable to a Windows 98SE computer. I've never tried it with USB2 or Windows XP because it replace the old NEC printer and the computer do not have USB2 ports. Samsung claims that it support Windows 9X to XP and even Linux with both USB2 and parallel cable. Many new printers only support Windows XP and USB2 ports.

Except these problems the printer works well and printing quality is ok.

If you're a Samsung CLP-500, 510 or 550 user, have you got similar problems? If you have any suggestions, please, let me know.
 

NHAN

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While I found this article informative, there are clearly errors on the cost per page analysis, making me question other posted facts.

The chart shows that for 10,000 pages (70% black / 30% color), the total cost was $755, $344, $354, and $575 respectively. Figuring the individual cost per page from this yields:
7.5 cents, 3.4 cents, 3.5 cents, and 5.7 cents per page. Compared to the 20% color coverage yields in the second line, these prices are well below that. How can a cost per page for 30% color and 70% black be BELOW the cost for a 20% color coverage?

Am I missing something obvious here?
 

rapid564

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While I found this article informative, there are clearly errors on the cost per page analysis, making me question other posted facts.

The chart shows that for 10,000 pages (70% black / 30% color), the total cost was $755, $344, $354, and $575 respectively. Figuring the individual cost per page from this yields:
7.5 cents, 3.4 cents, 3.5 cents, and 5.7 cents per page. Compared to the 20% color coverage yields in the second line, these prices are well below that. How can a cost per page for 30% color and 70% black be BELOW the cost for a 20% color coverage?

Am I missing something obvious here?


I think what it means by 70% black and 30% color is that 70% of the 10000 prints in black and 30% of the 10000 prints in color. Which mean 7000 b&w print plus 3000 color prints at 20% coverage cost $344.
 

rapid564

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Can some one educate me about how to compute the color coverage?

My company plan to purchase a high volume color laser printer at work for a upcoming project. We plan to print around 1000 full color photo picture in 8.5" x 11" letter size. So my question would be what is the color coverage for a 8.5" x 11" full letter size photo print like the regular photo shots.
 

tdwebste

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Thank you for you notes on linux support.

Only other complaints I have about the 510 are a) weird memory upgrade requirements (pseudo-proprietary) (but I can say the same about HP) and b) very limited linux support.

Samsung claims that it support Windows 9X to XP and even Linux with both USB2 and parallel cable.

This message board is more useful than the article.
These are server printers not tested for linux, Mac OS X servers

Tom Hardware, if I buy a color laser printer I am going to share it on my server, Right?

So please test compatibility with Linux.
 

prolfe

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I enjoyed your article about color laser printers. I thought it might be worthwhile to mention that if a user had a need for a network printer, but didn't want to pay the extra $100 for an "N" model, there are print servers out there for about $30 that will convert a printer with Parallel functionality to Network with a little setup.

Hope this helps!
 

sandmanwn

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I just spent several weeks looking at color laser printers.

We looked at the HP 1600 and others, Samsung CLP510, Lexmark C522, and the Okidata C3400, and finally the Konica Minolta Magicolor(been bought out more times then i thought was possible).

Ranked in order of picture quality. (best to worst)
Okidata
HP
Magicolor
Lexmark/Samsung

The Okidata and HP were hands down better than the Lexmark or Samsung. The Okidata was slightly ahead of HP and got the nod overall for the price of the replacement cartridges. Okidata has apparently gone to great links to get volume discounting to customers in certain retail stores like Staples. 230 for a okidata complete set vs 320 for an HP1600 set. (as a company we could purchase a 2-3 sets for the volume discount which made sense in our situation, it works in HP's favor for home users as a single cartidge set for okidata is over $350)

It was a great article but missing out on the OKIDATA was a shame.

It is worthwhile to mention that the DPI ratings on most models are bogus. the 1600 and 2400 DPI's are complete crap. Its an algorithm for stretching the resolution for the longer side of paper and usually causes anomaly's. 600x600 DPI is about as good as it gets.
 

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