Color Laser Printer Review: The Xerox Phaser 6140

Here’s a small business shopping scenario: You’ve got two printers at virtually the same price. One is brand-spanking new…the other is slightly older, but it offers more and better features. Which one would you buy? That’s the dilemma Eric Grevsted takes on over at as he reviews the latest color laser from Xerox.

It’s too noisy to put on your desk next to your phone, but otherwise the Xerox Phaser 6140 is a fast, capable, and — especially with its optional duplexer — convenient color laser printer, a clear improvement on the model 6130 it replaces. At $399, it’s easy to like … but Xerox has made it a little hard to buy, at least until next year.

You see, as we’ve written before, Xerox has a habit of discounting older, fuller-featured printers until they collide with newer models with lower prices. That’s happened now with the new Phaser 6140 and the Phaser 6280 introduced last February: The 6140 at $399 plus its double-sided printing unit at $149 adds up to $548, while a $100-off deal good through December 31, 2009 has lowered the duplexer-equipped Phaser 6280/DN to $549.

That means that an extra dollar buys a printer that’s faster (rated at 26 color and 31 black-and-white pages per minute versus 19 and 21 ppm, respectively); holds more paper (400 versus 250 sheets); has a higher duty cycle (70,000 versus 40,000 prints per month); and delivers lower costs per page (2.7 versus 3.5 cents for a black and 13.9 versus 17 cents for a color page, respectively, in Xerox’s published figures).

That’s an across-the-board win for the 6280/DN, even for solo or three- or four-person offices that would normally gravitate to the 6140 and leave the 6280 to larger workgroups. So as much as we like the Phaser 6140 — and we do — we can’t recommend you buy it until either the discount deal on its older, beefier sibling expires on New Year’s Eve or the newer model gets a price cut of its own.

Tall, Light and Handsome

The 6140 is an upright white iceberg of a printer, standing some 16.5 inches tall and taking 16- by 18-inches of desk space. Once you wrestle the 41-pound device out of its box, setup consists of pulling free a dozen strips and streamers of tape and locking the preinstalled black, cyan, magenta and yellow toner cartridges into place.

The latter, located behind a door on the printer’s right side, are compact, roughly TV-remote-sized modules that slip into carriers that swivel into position and lock by sliding a plastic latch into place. It’s one of the easiest cartridge-handling setups we’ve seen in either the laser or inkjet worlds.

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