Xerox – Phaser 5500 review

50ppm A3 office laser printer
Photo of Xerox – Phaser 5500
£1,887 + VAT for base model

You can buy a desktop mono laser for little more than the cost of a toner cartridge these days, but if you want to share it on a network you’ll need something a lot quicker. You’ll also want a more robust printer capable of producing quality documents time after time, with minimal downtime for maintenance. Plus networking and paper handling facilities beyond the single A4 tray typically found on cheap desktop lasers. The new Xerox Phaser 5500 is just such a printer, and then some.

The Phaser 5500 is an A3 monochrome laser capable of printing 50 pages per minute. Moreover, the speed doesn’t let up when the optional duplexer is fitted (£324 + VAT), with the 5500 also capable of printing double-sided documents at the rate of 50 sides per minute.

That speed is due partly to a very efficient Xerox laser engine, but a 500MHz RISC processor also has a part to play. Most noticeably it enables the printer to spit out the first page within just three seconds. OK, six if it’s in standby mode, but pretty impressive nonetheless, especially compared to the half a minute or so some desktop lasers can take.

Equally impressive is the 1200 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch) resolution, and a toner cartridge (£76 + VAT) good for 30,000 pages between changes. Plus you get a 300,000 page per month duty cycle, two 500-sheet A3 paper trays and a 100-sheet multi-purpose feeder (for envelopes, transparencies and so on) as standard.

For even more demanding environments, two more A3 trays can then be bolted on, together with a 2,000-sheet A4 feeder giving a total capacity of over 4,000 pages. A powered envelope feeder is yet another option, plus there’s a 3,500-sheet stacker and a document finisher with built-in hole punch and stapler, if required.

On the downside there’s no network interface on the base model (just USB and parallel) but Ethernet networking is standard on the rest of the range, starting with the Phaser 5500N at £2,089 + VAT. And that includes support for Windows, Apple and UNIX/Linux networks, a built-in Web server for local management plus e-mail alerting, a usage analysis tool and job accounting facilities.

All in all it’s a very impressive package but one that’s no harder to setup and use than a small desktop laser. Support for both PCL and PostScript is included and print options are easily selected using the driver software provided. You can even add a hard disk and configure walk-up printing of saved forms and other documents. The Phaser 5500 is remarkably quiet too, and print quality hard to fault.

The only real turn off is the price, but then that needs to be put into context. Sure it costs a lot more than your average desktop laser, but compared to other A3 printers in its class it’s a snip. Moreover, it has the edge over most of those rivals in terms of both performance and price, comes with one year’s Xerox support and really does deliver a lot for the money.

Company: Xerox

Contact: 0800 9000 9090

Expensive compared to your average desktop laser, but then the Phaser 5500 offers 1200dpi A3 output at 50 pages per minute. A wide range of paper handling options can also be added, including a document finisher with stapler and hole punch, plus a duplexer and top notch networking facilities.