Xerox Phaser 6125N review

Price when reviewed

With a remarkably low price, Xerox’s latest small business colour laser certainly looks to hit the sweet spot for value. Targeting small workgroups on a tight budget and a very modest demand for colour, the printer offers a top true resolution of 600dpi and print speeds of 16ppm for mono and 12ppm for colour.

Paper capacity extends to a single 250-sheet lower tray while the multipurpose slot can handle single sheets of up to 220gsm in weight. Connection options extend to USB2 and 10/100 ethernet, but despite the fast processor this is a GDI, or host-based, printer so you don’t get PCL or PostScript drivers: it expects your PC to do all the legwork in raterising each page.

Installation is straightforward, with the driver routine successfully discovering the printer on the network and loading all the necessary software. The printer’s CentreWare web server offers up a simple browser interface which provides views of the control panel and the status of consumables. All printer properties can be viewed and modified and network access can be controlled with a host access list that can store five IP addresses.

With GDI printers, speed will be down to the host system’s specification and for testing we used a Boston Supermicro dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 system running Windows Server 2003 R2. Mono prints were despatched efficiently, with a 16-page Word document delivered in precisely one minute. Make sure you select mono and not the auto-colour detect setting on the driver, as by default it’s left on the latter – and this drops speed to around 12ppm regardless of the type of print. Specifying colour this time, our 24-page DTP style document was returned in two minutes on both the Normal and Photo driver settings.

Print quality is surprisingly good for such a low-cost printer, with fonts crisp and sharp. Colour photographs impress with their high levels of detail, good colour balance and, more importantly, an absence of any banding. The levels of detail in both mono and colour photos is also good and the PC Pro colour chart showed only minimal stepping across colour fades, while grey shades using different mixes of cyan, yellow and magenta were faithfully reproduced. This test also confirmed that the driver’s Pop setting does, indeed, make colours slightly more vibrant.

it_photo_31760Printing costs limit this printer’s appeal and the toner cartridges have modest capacities of 2,000 pages for black and 1,000 pages for each colour. We shopped around and the best deal we found returned running costs of 1.9p per page for mono and a hefty 11p for a full colour page. Add in the fact that Xerox ships the printer with 500-page starter cartridges and initial printing costs will be even higher. The image unit has a 30,000-age longevity and is designed to last the life of the printer so at around 500 pages per month the 6125N is good for five years. The fuser can be discounted as this has a 50,000 page lifespan.

The Phaser 6125N may be a low-cost colour laser but it does deliver for quality. Print speeds are on the money as well, but the high colour costs make it best suited to users with modest printing requirements.

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