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Laser printers survey
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on October 16, 2006

Last year, we said that testing printers was a nightmare. I took the opportunity at the time to curse Marc, my boss, for making me test them. I gave in once again and said yes one more time, even when he insisted testing these printers with very high print volumes. This time however you will be happy as we recorded and filmed each printer. You will hear what we went though for the past few weeks! Our only regret is that we didn´t really find an interesting cost per page. The current trend is to embed electronic meters in toners that freeze printers once a certain amount of prints are made. And of course we didn´t have enough toners. So this year we apologize. We will have to make do with the manufacturers´ autonomy figures for consumables. Fortunately, these values are usually more reliable than those for inkjet models.

Speed and quality tests are still included. Compared to the 2005 survey this year, we particularly insisted on color accuracy, noise level and warm-up time. Indeed, many of you send us e-mails on that subject. The usual color problem is the professional who prints papers with their logo and find that the printer doesn´t have color accuracy.
Models selected

We kept the same policy as last year and we only tested "economical" products at less than 500€. In the meantime, product prices have dropped noticeably and they are under 300€ for a single-pass and 8 pages per minute color printer.

There are new models in the race by Konica Minolta, Canon, and Dell. Other manufacturers have kept their previous product lines in their catalogue and haven´t planned replacements soon. For example, the HP 2600N and Epson C1100 are back and face new challengers. Even if they already went through a series of tests we invited them back to record the noise level, check a couple of details and measure warm-up time. This is something that we didn´t do last time.

Just like last year, we added an inkjet printer as a reference. We even selected two, the HP Photosmart D7360 and Canon Pixma MP600R, which use separated cartridges. Also, like laser printers it´s possible to share them between several users, but we included them first to compare the quality, print time and cost per page with laser printers.
Last but not least, you will notice the presence of a Samsung laser printer in tests. We actually tested it last year and seriously criticized it. We chose to include its results to show the quality of "office" type prints, but we didn´t think it was necessary to dedicate an entire page in this survey.

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