TallyGenicom 9330N review

Price when reviewed

To look at the diminutive 9330N, you wouldn’t think it was capable of delivering TallyGenicom’s claimed print speed of 28ppm, but that’s precisely what it can do. It impressed in our speed tests by throwing out a 28-page basic Word document in a tidy 59 seconds for a perfect score. The printer comes with 64MB of onboard memory, but this looked up to the task, as it easily handled our heavy-duty 24-page DTP-style document and its large graphics and photographs at 28ppm in both 600dpi and 1,200dpi resolutions.

TallyGenicom 9330N review

The 9330N clearly looks capable of satisfying small workgroups with a high-volume printing demand, but with this great speed comes a heavy price, as although the printer offers a top true resolution of 1,200 x 1,200dpi we found this setting produced distinctly poor results. The 9330N isn’t too good at 600dpi, either, as although text was crisp down to the smallest font sizes we found graphics, bar charts and photographs suffered from unsightly banding and poor levels of detail in darker areas. Move up to 1,200dpi and the banding becomes worse. It has to be said that detail does improve slightly but, as far as we could see, all the printer’s PCL6 driver was doing was changing the contrast. We tried the same tests using the PS3 driver, but couldn’t see any improvements, with both resolutions producing murky graphics and equally obvious banding.

The printer comes as standard with a 50-sheet MP tray and 250-sheet base tray to which you can add a second base tray. Network installation is easy enough, as the bundled utility locates the printer on the network and loads the PCL6 and PS3 drivers preconfigured to attach to it. The printer’s web-management interface is a well-constucted affair, where you keep an eye on the toner cartridge capacity and access all configuration settings. The network parameters can be viewed and changed from here, and the IP address list usefully allows you to input up to ten entries that are allowed to use the printer. It certainly works, although try printing from an unauthorised address and you’ll get print-failure messages flashing up constantly in the System Tray until you delete the print job.

The printer has a single consumable, and TallyGenicom offers both 4,000- and 8,000-page toner cartridges. The latter equates to a fair 1.2p per page, but steer clear of the lower-capacity £73 version, as its price means each page will cost a whopping 1.8p. If you want a duplex unit then go for the 9330DN model, which adds another £40 to the asking price. The 9330N does have this feature built into the Windows driver panel, but it’s a case of printing one side, pulling all the pages out and placing them in the MP tray, where the opposite side will be printed. In practice, though, this works well enough, so unless you have a heavy demand for unattended duplexing this method will suit most requirements.

The 9330N certainly delivers in the performance stakes and looks good overall value for a high-speed network mono laser. However, its uninspiring output quality and comparatively high running costs make it a poor choice if speed isn’t your only criteria.

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