by Liz Levy & Jamie McAfee
One for Every Budget
For important business documents, monochrome and color laser printers can offer top-quality printing and cut down on those treks to the print shop. These workgroup printers provide the convenience of being manageable over the network, which gives users and administrators the ability to adjust printer settings from their desktops. Some of the units listed here support remote management from a built-in Web site, and one unit supports remote printing from the Web.
With so many printers to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one that best matches your needs. It’s important to think about the kinds of documents you’ll be printing (color or black-and-white) on a regular basis, as well as the volume of output.
When comparing printers, look at the resolution, memory, print speeds, and paper capacities. The laser industry is constantly striving to make printers with higher resolutions. The printers we reviewed range in resolution from 600dpi to 1200dpi.
These workgroup printers all include 10/100 Base-T/X Ethernet adapters for connecting to a network and sharing the unit among multiple users. The more users sharing the printer, the more internal memory and hard disk space needed to spool pending jobs. The printers that we have chosen range in memory size from 4MB RAM to 128MB RAM. Two of the units also include built-in hard drives for additional storage of larger print jobs.
Additional RAM greatly increases printing speed. The printers mentioned here have monochrome speeds ranging from 12 pages per minute (ppm) to 17ppm, and color printing speeds ranging from 4ppm to 5ppm. Standard paper capacity for laser printers varies between 200 and 250 sheets. However, some printers offer the option of additional trays.
These four printers represent the latest in workgroup laser printing, with different price points and feature sets. While they still cost more than their inkjet counterparts, there’s one for every budget.
Samsung’s QL-7050/N is a monochrome laser printer that features 600dpi resolution. With a 100MHz processor and 12MB RAM, this unit prints at a speed of 17ppm. It also can print double-sided documents at 8ppm. The 500-sheet paper tray, which comes standard with the unit, adjusts to fit various types of paper, including envelopes. There is also a 100-sheet multipurpose tray that can handle both 3″ x 5″ and legal-sized documents.
The QL-7050/N includes SyncThru network printer management software, which is compatible with DOS, Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, and NT 4.0 operating systems.
Samsung Electronics; 800-726-7864; www.samsungprinter.com; $695
The Brother HL-1270N is an affordable monochrome laser printer. Network support is available for TCP/IP, Novell IPX/SPX, and Apple Ethertalk protocols. In addition to a parallel port, the HL-1270N also offers USB support for both PCs and Macs.
The printer supports 1200 x 600dpi resolution, and includes 4MB RAM (expandable to 36MB), with print speeds up to 12ppm. The unit includes a 250-sheet paper tray; a second tray is optional. The printer supports Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, NT 4.0, and MAC OS. Brother includes automatic e-mail printing software that will automatically print e-mail messages at programmed times.
Brother International Corp.; 800-521-2846; www.brother.com; $499
Tektronix Phaser 750
The Tektronix Phaser 750 is a color laser printer from Xerox with 1200 x 600dpi resolution. A 200MHz processor provides fast printouts at 16ppm for black-and-white, and 5ppm for color. The Phaser 750 includes USB and parallel-port connectivity. It comes with a 250-sheet input tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray.
The 750DX model offers 1200 x 1200dpi resolution, with 128MB RAM (expandable to 256MB), as well as a built-in 6GB hard drive. The 750DX unit also includes an automatic two-sided printing tray, collation capability, and an additional 250-sheet paper tray and 100-sheet transparency tray.
The PhaserLink remote management software allows users to check printer settings and activity from their desks. The software can also send automatic e-mail notifications before it runs out of supplies.
Xerox Corp.; 800-835-6100; www.xerox.com; $2,295
NEC SuperScript 4650 Internet Printer
The NEC SuperScript 4650 Internet Printer is a color laser printer that offers a unique system for printing documents over the Internet. Mobile workers can print out documents at the office from any location. With its own IP address and home page, the access, setup, and printing procedures can be done over the Internet with or without installation of a driver or special application.
Designed for network environments, the 4650N model features a 200MHz processor, 2.1GB hard drive, and 96MB RAM. With 1200dpi resolution, it prints at speeds of 4ppm for color and 16ppm for black-and-white, and includes a 250-sheet paper tray. A SCSI port and bundled drivers allow users to connect an Iomega Zip drive to the printer and print documents directly from the drive without using a PC.
NEC Technologies Inc.; 800-632-4636; www.nectech.com; $2,699