Phaser 750

Xerox is marketing its latest printer, from the recently acquired Tektronix stable, as easy-to-use. After numerous skirmishes with the great hulking beasts that are office laser printers, I wondered if the Phaser 750 would live up to this promise. I'm pleased to say it did.The 750 has been released as the bigger brother of the excellent Phaser 740. At first glance there doesn't seem to be much that's new. The engine is the same as the 740, and, unsurprisingly, performs just as well with 16ppm colour and 5ppm mono output. There are optional paper trays available, extendible memory, PostScript Level 3, and all the other bells-and-whistles you'd expect. What is included in this incarnation is a bump up to true 1,200-x-1,200dpi resolution, a meatier 200MHz controller-chip and 10/100Base-T ethernet as standard. Oh, and all models in the range are colour - unlike the 740 series. Installation was a sinch, with understandable instructions, simple slot-loading toner, and a straight forward driver. One small step
These little additions push the 750 Series ahead of the 740 Series, but not by much. The benefits from these improvements are likely to make a difference only in a heavy-duty environment. The 100Base-T counts here, but the loss of SCSI may be a disadvantage that the new USB cannot compensate for. It's claimed that the 200MHz processor will allow for up to twice the throughput of other lasers. Frankly, I'm a little sceptical. The 750 certainly compares very well on speed at least. Just as well, as the 740 manages to get by on a 133MHz chip. However, Xerox has an ace up its sleeve in the form of productivity software. Dull, I know, but the subtle improvements take the 750 into the big league. There are a range of utilities supplied with the 750, from a one-step installer, which makes it even easier to set-up, to the PhaserPort utility that allows TCP/IP networking, yielding faster data transfer - and therefore faster printing - than AppleTalk. The gem is PhaserLink, a Web-based printer management with a consumables-update that the printer emails to you. There is even a smart power-management mode, called Intelligent Ready, which learns the daily cycle of the office. Considerately, the printer will wake itself up to be all warm, cuddly and ready-to-go when you arrive at work. Just what you've always wanted - hardware that expects you to be punctual and mails you when it wants to moan. The print quality is excellent for a laser, though the difference the boosted resolution will make to anything is questionable. You will still need an ink-jet for true photo printing, and the plain-paper output is far short of this mark. However, on special laser paper you get an impressive image with good blends and incredible sharpness. Colours are strong and solid even on transparencies, but there is inevitable graininess due to the laser technology.

OUR VERDICT

The 750 will be a leading example in its class. Compact and clean, with easy-to-use features, this printer is ideal for a serious office. No one need fear the monster laser printer again - unless it starts emailing your boss when you're late for work.

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