to upgrade to colour
says office documents have to be black and white?
by (c) 2003 First published in
Business in Vancouver
, Issue #705 April 29- May 5, 2003
Do you remember moving from
monochrome computer monitors
to colour, and how much more comfortable it made working on computers?
While most children can print their school reports at home in colour,
most business documents are still printed in boring monochrome.
Colour laser-quality printers are
taking aim at the
business market, with models for medium-sized offices on up. They're
more expensive than inkjet printers aimed at home users and monochrome
laser printers, but they combine network capability with faster output
and lower cost per page. And they offer the added bonus of more
attractive output than the more common black and white office printers.
Regardless of manufacturer, estimated
cost of these
models is around two-to-three cents per monochrome text output page,
and about 14 cents for colour output (based on 20 per-cent colour toner
HP wins reviewers' praise
Hewlett-Packard offers models built around
of their 21-page-per-minute (ppm) Colour Laserjet 5500 printer. The
product line starts with the non-networked $5,746 C9656A.
Network-capable models start with the $6,225 Model C7131A, and $6,421
gets the C9657A adding an auto-duplexer for double-sided printing. At
$8,449 the C9658A ups the ante with more built-in memory and two
500-sheet paper trays, while the top-of-the-line C9659A ($9,970) adds a
hard drive for storing print jobs, three 500-sheet paper trays and a
100-sheet multi-purpose tray. All are rated as able to produce a hefty
120,000 pages per month.
HP Laserjet 5500 series
won the hearts of reviewers because of its print quality
These HP models won the hearts of
reviewers in a recent
network colour printer shoot-out conducted by IT weekly Computing
Canada, which remarked "the HP's stellar print quality won their
Xerox built for speed
A similar comparison in U.S.-based PC Magazine
the edge to Xerox's Phaser lineup. Their 7300 models promise
the fastest output speeds, up to 30 ppm for colour copy (up to 37 ppm
for black and white). This speed is achieved by being able to print in
a single pass through the printer, rather than four passes required by
some other technologies. Their $6,299 Phaser 7300 features
tabloid-sized output and up to 2,400 dot-per-inch resolution. Xerox's
Smart Trays technology automatically senses the type of media loaded in
the unit's paper trays, while their Auto Thickness sensor adjusts toner
density for different paper weights. Xerox rates these printers as
capable of printing up to 83,000 pages per month.
The Xerox Phaser 7300
the fastest output speeds, at up to 37 pagers per minute
Lexmark suited for bulk jobs
Also well regarded is Lexmark with
a series of
new models. The C912 series can print banners up to 36 inches long for
store signage, as well as printing up to 12-by-18-inch edge-to-edge
output. Print speeds run up to 28 ppm in both colour and monochrome,
and Lexmark touts lower page costs than its "leading competitor"
(presumably HP). Output options include stapling, hole-punching and
Lexmark's non-networked base model pricing starts at
$5,449, with the network-friendly C912n adding increased memory and two
paper trays for $6,879. The next step up is the $8,149 C912dn adding a
duplexer, while the top-of-the-line C912fn ($13,739) gives all of the
above plus additional paper capacity and all the output finishing
Lexmark's c912 series
banners up to 36 inches long, and offers best-of-class paper capacity
The Lexmark line of colour printers
are rated at 100,000
copies per month. PC Magazine noted that a slightly lower than
average cost per page and best-of-class paper capacity makes these
models good choices for users who print a lot of pages.
According to Lexmark research, a
typical Canadian office
worker in a small to medium-sized enterprise produces an average of 36
printed pages a day.