It’s been a long time coming, but six years after Memjet unveiled its jaw-droppingly fast inkjet printer technology, the first Memjet printer available in the U.S.—the Memjet C6010 Powered by Memjet—is finally here. It’s a lot more expensive than the $500 to $600 that Memjet was projecting as recently as two years ago, but it prints as fast as Memjet promised, hitting more than 60 pages per minute (ppm) for text files, and it offers a low running cost to balance the high price. If you print enough pages, the low cost per page can make it a bargain.
The C6010′s speed isn’t quite as impressive as it would have been if the Editors’ Choice HP Officejet Pro X551dw Printer hadn’t just come out and stolen Memjet’s thunder. It’s still impressive, however. It’s also significantly faster than the X551dw on our official tests, both for our business suite and for printing text files without formatting. Memjet rates it at 60 pages per minute (ppm), or about 20 ppm faster than HP rates the X551dw. I timed it for printing simple text files without formatting at 64.8 ppm. The HP printer managed only 44.7 ppm in its default mode.
Both the Memjet and HP printers get their fast speed, in part, from using a printhead that spans the width of the page, a design choice that solid ink printers like the Xerox ColorQube 8870DN also use. The page-wide design prints the page in one sweep past the printhead, without having to waste time shuttling the head back and forth. All of these printers deliver laser-like performance, which is why we list them as laser-class and treat them as part of the laser-printer category.
Not so incidentally, note that you won’t find the C6010 at retail outlets or online sites. However, it’s available through value-added resellers (VARs) throughout the country according to Memjet. If you go to Memjet’s C6000series Web site and choose Contact, then click on the link for further information about purchasing the printer, you can fill in your contact information, and a local dealer will contact you.
According to Memjet, the printer is usually leased as part of a managed print services plan. However, at least some, if not most, VARs will also sell it outright. Both Burtronics Business Systems (www.burtronics.com), based in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in California, and lasers resource (www.lasersresource.com) in Grand Rapids, MI, for example, say they sell the C6010 for about $1,200.
Basics and Setup
Given how fast the C6010 can turn stacks of blank paper into printed pages, it offers surprisingly limited paper handling, especially for the price. Paper capacity is only 270 sheets, divided between a 250-sheet drawer and a 20-sheet multipurpose tray, with no additional trays available and no duplexer (for two-sided printing), even as an option.
In general, 250 sheets should be enough for most micro or small offices or workgroups. However, if you need the C6010′s speed, you can almost certainly make good use of a higher input capacity, and can probably benefit from a duplexer as well. And regardless of speed, most printers at anywhere near the C6010′s price offer a lot more capable paper handling. The less expensive HP X551dw in particular comes with a 500-sheet drawer, a 50-sheet multi-purpose tray, and a duplexer standard, with a second 500-sheet drawer available as an option.
Setup is mostly standard fare. The printer measures 10.4 by 21.3 by 18.0 inches (HWD), making it a little larger than you may want sitting on your desk, but smaller than comparable color lasers. At 27 pounds, it’s also a lot lighter than a color laser and easy for one person to move into place.
Physical setup is similar to setting up any standard inkjet with a separate printhead, except that the printhead is closer in size to a laser printer’s toner cartridge than to a typical inkjet printhead, and mounting it in the printer is much like putting a toner cartridge in a laser. Memjet rates it at 50,000 pages, with a $365 (list) replacement cost, but a likely lower cost from most VARs. Driver installation is absolutely typical. For my tests, I connected the printer to a network using its Ethernet port and installed the driver on a Windows Vista system. As with virtually all printers today, you can also connect by USB.
To call the C6010 fast is an understatement. For files that don’t require much processing time, like Word files with nothing but text, it does better than its 60 ppm rated speed, at 64.8 ppm on my tests. More important for most purposes, it’s also fast for files with graphics and photos.
I timed the printer on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at an effective 14.8 ppm, which makes it the fastest color printer we’ve ever tested. In comparison, the HP Officejet Pro X551dw Printer came in at 9.2 ppm, and the Editors’ Choice Epson B-510DN, another notably fast inkjet, managed 10.5 ppm.
Among color lasers, the fastest currently available model we’ve tested is the Editors’ Choice HP LaserJet Enterprise 500 Color Printer M551dn , which managed only 9.0 ppm on our official tests. Other lasers have been a bit faster on unofficial tests with tweaked settings, but even then, none have hit double digits in pages per minute.
The fast speed also carries over to photos, with the C6010 averaging 9 seconds for a 4 by 6. In comparison, the HP M551dn came in at 13 seconds, the HP X551dw took 26 seconds, and Epson B-510dn took 32 seconds.
Output Quality and Other Issues
The C6010′s output quality isn’t remotely in the same class as its speed, but it’s easily good enough for most business purposes, with par quality overall.
The text in my tests was at the low end of a tight range where most lasers fall, with crisp, well-formed characters that are more readable at small sizes than some lasers can manage. However the text was just a touch gray rather than a solid dark black, which costs the printer some points for quality, and puts it at the low end of par for a laser-class printer.
Graphics were dead on par for a laser, which makes them good enough for any internal business need, including PowerPoint handouts. Colors are a touch dull, meaning they’re lacking in saturation and brightness. Depending on your tastes, however, you may consider them good enough for output going to important clients and customers.
Photos on plain paper showed the same color issues as graphics, but they’re easily good enough for printing recognizable photos from Web pages or for handouts. Most photos on photo paper were at the low end of true photo quality, with colors tending to be just a touch too saturated and too dark. That would put them below par for an inkjet, but above par for a laser-class printer.
Also demanding mention is the C6010′s cost per page. One complication is that the cost varies, depending on the VAR you’re dealing with. In general, ink is available in one of three ways: in new cartridges, as cartridge refills, or as part of a per-page contract. Any given VAR may or may not offer more than one choice.
Based on list prices, the cost per page with new cartridges is 2.8 cents for a mono page and 7.0 cents for a color page. That’s not particularly high or low for mono pages, but it’s notably lower than most color lasers for color pages. In most cases, however, the real costs for using new cartridges will be lower, with the actual cost depending on the VAR you’re buying from.
The cost with refills is lower still, at roughly half the cost per page for new cartridges, or less, depending once again on the individual VAR. Per-page charges as part of a contract can be anywhere in the range covered by both new and refill cartridge costs together. The bottom line for your bottom line is that although the running cost can vary, it should still be low enough compared with the competition to help offset the initial price of the printer.
Clearly, this printer offers a lot to like. The speed is impressive, the quality is good enough for business use, and although the initial price is a little high, the potentially low running cost can make the printer cheaper to own in the long run than a less expensive printer with a higher cost per page. The limited paper handling is disappointing at this price, but if you don’t need a duplexer, and if a 250-sheet capacity is all you need, the combination of fast speed and low running cost is more than enough to make the Memjet C6010 Powered by Memjet printer an attractive choice.
|Print Duplexing||Manual with guidance|
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||60 ppm|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)||60 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||1-pass color|
|Technology (for laser category only)||Page-wide Array|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc