Ilumina Digital Colour Press full review

Xanté has always occupied a relatively small but important niche in the laser printer market. It has offered specialist machines for printing production graphics, vinyl plates, and even T-shirts over the years. The latest offering is a colour printer that may not appeal to everyday office users, but will be of great interest to graphics and print professionals.

The Ilumina Digital Colour Press has all the attributes of a high-end A3 colour printer you might expect from Xanté. It can crank out over 36 colour pages per minute, it’s loaded with Adobe PostScript 3, and can handle paper sizes up to SRA3. But this, while impressive, is the kind of thing we have come to expect from Xanté. What really impressed me was the types of paper it can handle. Lots of printers claim to be able to handle heavier weight paper or even card, but this printer works with weights of up to 427 grams per square metre (gsm) – that’s very thick card indeed.

To put that in perspective, the cover of this magazine is 250gsm; 427gsm is thick enough to make a box out of, something like a tissue box, or even heavier. I was searching around to see what card stock is generally available, and 427gsm is thicker than anything I could find in standard samples. It would appear that if your card is thin enough to bend slightly, chances are this printer can handle it.

If ever I’ve had any gripes with Xanté printers it’s been that they are too technical. Although they’re designed to do some rather special things, and to be used by professionals, there are still occasions where normal humans need to use them. Not everyone spends time making sure that the paper settings are just so, or the driver is the right one. Older models were a bit fussy and would give unpredictable results with the wrong settings. It’s a bit like putting a full-blown SLR camera in the hands of somebody used to a simple snapper. Not everything is automatic, and you can get it wrong.

This new model has addressed that issue in some important ways. It senses what kind of paper you are using and automatically adjusts to compensate. You still have ultimate control over the prints, but there are some safeguards against things that might jam up the works. So it remains a professional tool, but anyone can use it.

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