We’ve had a lot of printers go through the doors of Macworld, and we usually find some flaw with them. They might be too slow, too fiddly, we couldn’t write on the prints, or the inks curled-up the paper. We used the Phaser 7700 for a few months, and still didn’t find a flaw – so we bought one.
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Colour laser-printers have gradually been making inroads into the office-printer market over the past five years. Now, they are found in many offices, but they still haven’t ousted the mono laser completely. The reason the mono laser is still around is down to its speed advantage. But that advantage has disappeared – thanks to Xerox’s Phaser 7700. At 22 pages per minute, the 7700 is screamingly fast. But in the graphics world, speed is not the only issue. As with other Phaser models, the 7700 has excellent colour and handles the toughest PostScript jobs without skipping a beat. Macworld’s printer-killer file – renowned for bringing laser printers to their knees – was processed in less than a minute. Another feature that will endear this printer to those with a graphical bent is the ability to print on A3 paper. And, if you’re fond of different paper stock, it will handle paper up to 220gsm. The heart of this beast is the same G4 500MHz found in Macs. Actually, I’m not sure how I feel about a printer with more power under its hood than my own Mac. There’s also a 5GB hard disk included in all models, which both acts as a cache for print jobs and fonts, and houses the integral Web site. Yes, this printer even has its own Web site – now that’s real class. When you give the printer an IP address, you can use a Web browser to check everything about it, from the toner coverage of the last page printed, to the status of the waste-toner cartridge. You can see exactly who printed what, when they did it, and how much of each colour-toner was used. I’m not sure who wants to know that stuff, but it’s all there. You can even download the printer driver from it, so there’s no more losing the driver disc. It gets even better. It can email you when it requires attention – for instance, to let you know it needs toner. Since we’ve been using the 7700, I’ve had a few emails asking for assistance – though I’m not quite ready to have it send the office manager requests for toner yet. It might freak her out. My one criticism of the 7700, it its size. It’s enormous. But then it is an A3 colour printer, and they are by necessity, big. It uses a single-pass paper path, which adds to the bulk – but it is also the reason for its speediness.