Phaser Printers Set to Stun the Market

By Patricia Fusco | Posted January 29, 2004

If speed kills, Xerox is ready to take a whack at HP and Lexmark for a fair share of the small business printing and imaging market.

Xerox unleashed three new Phaser printers this week, each designed with different small- and mid-sized businesses in mind. With two units priced under the $1,000 mark, 'The Document Company' is poised to challenge HP and Lexmark.

Form Plus Functions
The Phaser 4500 is a new black-and-white laser printer that is touted as the fastest printer in its class — the class being monochrome laser printers priced under $1,000.

Joe Andrino, Xerox Phaser 4500 product manager, said the 400 MHZ processor is the key to the Phaser 4500's speed.

"The Phaser 4500 providers raw printing power," Andrino said. "It's 40 percent faster than comparable HP printers and 15 percent faster than Lexmark."

The Phaser 4500 is speedy — it's capable of printing 36 pages per minute (ppm) set at 1200 dots per inch (dpi) print quality. First-page-out time is less than eight seconds. The same processor that makes the unit quick-to-print also allows for handling a wide range of file types and print sizes. Like other Xerox monochrome laser printers, the Phaser 4500 offers genuine Adobe PostScript 3 and edge-to-edge printing.

Andrino said the unit comes with a second paper tray standard, so the Phaser 4500 also out performs similar units from HP and Lexmark in terms of paper capacity, too.

"The Phaser 4500 holds 700 sheets total," Andrino said. "One tray holds 550 sheets, the other holds 150. That means you can drop in an entire ream of paper — it also means we provide 10 percent greater capacity than similar printers from HP and Lexmark."

The Phaser 4500 black and white laser printer is designed for mainstream businesses that require networked printing capabilities. It's intelligent, too — the Phaser 4500 comes with an automated installation tool for easy setup. It also comes with smart paper trays that sense the size and type of paper used — automatically matching to the requirements of the print application.

The Phaser 4500 comes with a one-year on-site warranty and starts at $979. The average cost per print is 1.25 to 1.29 cents per page. A typical duty cycle for the Phaser 4500 averages about 150,000 impressions per month.

Solid Ink, Rock-Bottom Price
Tired of toner? Check out Xerox's new solid ink platform. Part of the allure of the new Phaser 8400 color printer is that it uses solid ink. It also delivers 24 color or black-and-white pages per minute, and it does so for less than $1,000 — shattering the typical $1,400 to $1,500 solid-ink price range for the first time.

Xerox completed the acquisition of Tektronix's Color Printing and Imaging Division for $925 million in January 2003. Obtaining the solid-ink technology was a key part of the deal — a technology that Xerox is banking on to challenge HP in the color printer market.

Mike Kovalski, Xerox Phaser 8400 product manager, explained how the solid ink system works.

"Solid ink grew out of the graphics arts industry," Kovalski said. "This solid ink printer melts the resin-based ink, sprays it on a drum, then rolls the drum against the paper to transfer the image. Small businesses get offset-print quality in a single pass."

The Phaser 8400 produces color image quality equivalent to 2400 dpi. It prints on a variety of media, including cardstock, envelopes and even transparencies.

The Phaser 8400 comes in four configurations. The standard model offers 512 MB of memory and includes a 500 MHz processor that enables first-page printouts in less than six seconds. All but the base model is capable of automatic two-sided printing.

Networking architecture supports multiple users via universal serial bus (USB) 2.0, parallel and Ethernet connections. As with all Xerox network printers, the Phaser 8400 offers advanced Web-based printer management tools, as well as an enhanced version of PrintingScout, which alerts users to potential printer issues and gives instructions on how to correct them.

The Phaser 8400 starts at $999 for the base unit. Replacement solid ink sticks are priced comparable to toner cartridges — about $80 each. Average price per printout is about 10 cents per page.

Picture Perfect Pigments
For the graphic artist or office professional that needs high-quality printing capabilities for day-to-day and pre-press proofing, Xerox introduced the Phaser 7750. Another speedy color laser printer, the Phaser 7750 is capable of producing 35 ppm in color or black-and-white. The device also provides color management tools capable of calibrating picture perfect pigments in both Microsoft and Mac environments.

PhaserCal is a new color-calibration program that guarantees accurate and consistent color regardless of the page quantity — ensuring the first print out looks exactly like the last. PhaserMatch 3.0 is the second color management tool available on the Phaser 7750. PhaserMatch software allows users to create color proofs on the Phaser 7750 that will accurately match color output produced on an offset printing press.

The Phaser 7750 runs on a 715 MHz processor that prints the first color page in less than 11 seconds — first black-and-white page in under 10 seconds. The Phaser 7750 offers three print modes, including the ability to print in a true 1200 dpi format for fine detail and photographic images. The Phaser 7750 supports an extensive range of media sizes — from post cards to 47-inch long banners.

The Phaser 7750 supports a 150,000 monthly duty cycle. It comes with USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity along with genuine Adobe PostScript 3.0 print finesse, as well as Xerox's PrintingScout and PhaserSmart software.

Ken Knepper, Xerox Phaser 7750 product manager, said the Phaser 7750 is a cost-conscious, timesaving printer for the small print house.

"The Phaser 7750 can store up to 10 customer color profiles," Knepper explained. "That feature makes color-matching so good on a color laser printer that is so fast, small independent printers can compete with Sir Speedy and Kinko's."

The Phaser 7750 color laser printer comes with a one-year on-site warranty. The base model starts at $5,599. Average print price per page is 9 cents in color; 2 cents in black-and-white.

Winning Performance
Printers have remained relatively proprietary in a world where hardware designers increasingly favor standardizing components to keep costs down and prices competitive.

According to IDC, HP dominates the printer market — controlling more than 40 percent of the worldwide market in the first quarter of 2003. This includes printers and all-in-one devices that combine printers with scanners and copiers. HP also has 41 percent of the market for printers alone. Research indicates that HP has increased its share in both categories since the first quarter of 2002.

As more companies take aim at HP's lead — Dell, Epson, Canon, Lexmark and now, Xerox — prices have dropped. With printer shipments worldwide expected to grow just 1.6 percent in 2004, the printer manufacturer than provides small businesses with the best combination of quality, performance, and value will win market share — Xerox is banking on it.

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