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Poor old mono laser-printers – they used to be the pinnacle of printing technology, single-handedly starting the desktop-publishing revolution. Now, mono lasers are strictly second division, with colour laser and inkjets being top of most peoples’ wish lists. But here’s one that will give any fancy printer a run for its money on value and quality. It is the Xanté AW1200, and it’s about as highly featured as you can get for a mono laser, at an amazing price.
Its features include Adobe PostScript 3, A3+ printing and 1,200dpi. This is ideal for mono proofing. It’s easy to forget that not all print design is for colour, and this will give you better mono than many colour printers. It comes with dual paper trays, both of which can easily be set to hold a variety of paper sizes up to 330-x-901mm.
Output for text is excellent, but then almost all laser printers can do text with excellent results. Greyscale images are the true test of a great printer, and the AW1200 doesn’t fail to impress. The results are crisp and sharp, and the only printers from which I’ve seen better output are the higher-end Xanté models.
If looking for an A3 colour printer for rough proofing, you’re looking at £3-7,000 for a colour laser. Depending on how often you print colour and A3, the AW12000 could be coupled with an A3 inkjet to give you similar capabilities at a fraction of the cost. It wouldn’t be fast, but if you can save a few grand, it would be an attractive option for smaller design studios, or even freelance designers.
The AW1200 is capable of excellent graphic output, but don’t forget that it can do everything other mono lasers can, too. It has all you need for more-mundane – but important – jobs, such as printing letters and invoices.
All the features that are included normally bump-up the price of a printer considerably. In this case, you get A3+ printing, 1,200dpi, ethernet, and PostScript 3 – all for just £799. If you need these features, then you should definitely consider the AW1200. If you need more speed, you might want to consider one of the other Xanté models; the AW1200 prints A4 at a leisurely – by modern standards – 12 pages per minute. But if quality is more important than speed, then the AW1200 is ideal.