Multifunction Printer Review: Xerox WorkCentre 6505N

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Every small business should consider investing in a multifunction printer. These versatile small business printers deliver a lot of bang for the buck in compact packages that don’t take up much room in busy and often cramped offices.  The Xerox WorkCentre 6505 is a perfect example.

This networkable (USB/Ethernet) laser multifunction performed its duties as a printer, scanner, fax machine and copier with aplomb during our testing. It was extremely easy to use and setup and, while not the fastest printer in the world, it delivered very high-quality output.

Xerox designed the WorkCentre 6505 for small businesses and workgroups with up to seven workers. It offers the multifunction printer in two configurations: with duplexing (6505DN) and without (6505N). Duplexing lets you automatically print to two sides of a page without having to reload documents.

We reviewed the WorkCentre 6505N, which lists for $649 and costs about $100 more than the similarly configured Oki MC361 we reviewed in February.  The WorkCentre 6505DN sells for $749, and is well worth the extra cash if double-sided printing is something you’ll be doing often.

While not nearly as fast or as much of a workhorse as the Oki MC361, the WorkCentre 6505N delivered far superior monochrome and color output.  The two-toned WorkCentre boasts a duty cycle of 40,000 pages per month — about 5,000 less than the Oki — but more than suitable for most small-to-mid sized offices and departments.  At 15.9 x 16.75 x 16.4 inches and 40 pounds it is far more compact and much lighter than the Oki.

Workcentre 6505N, multifunction printers
The compact Xerox WorkCentre 6505N delivers big when it comes to quality output.
(Click for larger image)

Like most laser multifunction printers today, the unit is rather tall. That’s due to the layering of the 1200 x 1200 dpi scanning component on top of what is essentially a standard laser printer. It maxes out at a 600 x 600 dpi for color and black-and-white copying.

Powered by a 633MHz processor, the WorkCentre 6505 ships with 256MB of memory, which is upgradable to 768MB. It’s compatible with Windows XP or Mac OS 10.5 or higher, and it works in Linux environments thanks to the included Xerox Global Print Driver. The printer offers PostScript 3 and PCL 6 emulation.

Multifunction Printer Resolution and Paper Handling

Xerox lists the device’s print resolution at a rather odd 600 x 600 x 4 dpi. The company says the “x 4” component in its resolution specification signifies how the laser technology in the WorkCentre 6505 provides greater depth and richness to its output than you see in traditional laser printing.

Xerox says the printer’s laser heads have the capability to change the size of individual dots, which allows the WorkCentre 6505 to deliver 16 different shades of color per pixel printed. Xerox claims this improves the rendering of (and the transition between) colors, shading and details of printed images.

The well-designed WorkCentre 6505 handles paper quite well. It prints a fairly standard 24 pages per minute for color and monochrome on Letter-sized media and 23ppm on A4-sized output. The paper cartridge at the bottom holds 250 sheets, which you can double through an optional ($199) attachment. Still, that’s far less than the 350-sheet native and 880-sheet total (when expanded) capability of the Oki.

You can also automatically feed up to 35 sheets of media in various sizes as well as manually input documents from 3 x 5 inches to 8.5 x 14 inches in size one page at a time. The paper output well holds 150 pages and — unfortunately — there is no mechanism for straight-through printing like with the Oki.

Multifunction Printer: Setup and Installation

Xerox provides clear setup and driver installation directions, which we always like to see. The setup CD compliments Xerox’s bundled paper instructions with a check list that walks you through everything you need to do to get your printer ready.

Best of all, you don’t have to pop out a print drum or black, cyan, magenta and  yellow toner cartridges to safely remove all the packing materials. Getting the multifunction ready for setup is a nice, clean and simple procedure.

Prepare the bundled cartridges by simply pulling out a few yellow plastic strings, for example. The front of the printer pops open to access the drum (or future paper jams), and you can access the cartridges through a conveniently-located door on the side of the unit.

After you load paper and attach the printer to your computer via a local USB or network (100 Base-TX Ethernet) connection, the setup disk does a nice job of walking you through installing the drivers and software. When you turn the printer on, you select the language and set the date and time through the front operations panel. You can also set the multifunction up for faxing, starting by inputting your fax number.  After installing the drivers and utilities, we loaded Nuance’s Scan to PC Desktop software, which was available on a separate disk.

All in all, setup and installation took no more than 15 minutes or so.

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