Xerox Phaser 7750
In times gone by, colour laser printers were the expensive arty cousins of the boring fast office mono-laser printers. Most companies used mono-lasers, and if they were lucky, the marketing or art department might have a colour laser. The segregation made sense: colour lasers were slow, mono lasers were fast, and everybody thought that colour was a luxury they couldn’t really afford.
The Phaser range from Xerox started to change that thinking with a colour laser that was fast enough for traditional mono-laser users. Now the latest generation of Phaser colour lasers is here, and it means that the same printer can fulfil the needs of every department in the company. The A3 Phaser 7750 can keep pace with fast mono printers, and still output colour pages at a quality suitable for graphics professionals.
The 7750 shows how far colour laser printing has come since the early carousel-style models. Since most colour laser printers moved to a single-pass design, where all four colours are printed in one pass, speeds have increased rapidly. The four-pass carousel-style printers have become a cheap alternative to inkjet printers, but can never get past the four or five page-per-minute mark. So using a single-pass process and using a fast processor, the 7750 can output an amazing 35 pages per minute. That’s colour or mono pages, and the quality is excellent. One thing we did notice, however, is that when printing multiple pages with a lot of toner coverage (like our test page), the pages have a tendency to curl. They uncurl a bit once they cool down, but the fuser (which melts the toner onto the page) must be so hot to process 35 pages per minute that curling is almost inevitable. However it only happens in some circumstances, and if you were printing a lot of high-coverage pages it might be worth investing in some higher-quality paper to counteract the effect.
Other welcome advances since the previous model include Rendezvous support, so it’s easier than ever to set up the Phaser. It appears on the network in just the same way that AppleTalk printers used to in Mac OS 9. The 7750 has a built-in Web server for administration, which is simple to use and keeps detailed records of printer usage.
The fast performance isn’t limited to the pages-per-minute figures. Our tests that time the first page out usually bring printers designed for general office duties to their knees. The Phaser shrugged off our printer killer file, known to take two minutes or more on some models, in just 20 seconds. The file, a PDF of an extremely complex Adobe Illustrator file full of gradations and blends designed to be a worst-case scenario for a printer, took only 9 seconds more than a simple mono text page. This processing power comes from a 733MHz G4 processor under the hood.
Xerox printers aren’t known for being cheap, but they do offer value for money. The 7750DN comes in at £5,799 excluding VAT, which is a lot of money – but it could potentially do the job of two or three printers that were current just three or four years ago. If your needs lean towards the graphics side of things it may be worth moving up to the £6,999 Phaser 7750GX, which includes higher-resolution printing and PhaserMatch colour-matching and calibration software. Either model will take huge amounts of work in their stride; in our tests they seemed unflappable. So for a workhorse with an artistic streak, the Phaser 7750 is the best we have come across. You’ll need a fair bit of room for the 7750: it’s a massive 644-x-493-x-715mm weighing in at 88Kg. But it may be the only printer you ever need again.