The Xerox Phaser 7100/DN ($1,599.99) is the best of a growing group of small-office color laser printers that can print at up to tabloid size, and it comes at a relatively low price. It has all the features of the Xerox Phaser 7100/N, and it adds an automatic duplexer for two-sided printing. The 7100/DN loses little time in duplex (two-sided) over simplex (one-sided) printing, even though it has to flip each page over to print the second side. It delivers even better quality output than the Xerox 7100/N, earning it our Editors’ Choice nod as a budget-priced, tabloid color laser printer.
The blue and white laser printer measures 16 by 21 by 19.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 97 pounds, so you’ll need at least two people to move it into place. It has a 400-sheet standard paper capacity, which is split between a 250-sheet main tray and a 150-sheet secondary tray, both of which can fit up to tabloid-size (11-by-17-inch) paper. Up to three additional 550-sheet are available as options (at $399 each), as are a wireless adapter ($219) and a productivity kit whose centerpiece is a 40GB hard drive ($499).
The 7100/DN has standard Ethernet and USB connectivity. I tested it over an Ethernet connection with a PC running Windows Vista. The recommended driver, which installs by default, is PostScript; users can also install included PCL emulations, PDF Direct, or XPS drivers from the bundled setup disc. I ran all our tests using the default PostScript driver.
I timed the 7100/DN at 6.1 pages per minute (ppm) in duplex mode on the latest version of our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing). That’s a decent speed considering its rated print speed of 30 pages per minute. (Rated speeds are based on text-only printing, while our test suite combines text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content.) As expected, it was faster in simplex mode (7.7 ppm), testing at a near-identical speed to the simplex-only Xerox 7100/N (7.6 ppm). In simplex mode, it even edged out the significantly more expensive Xerox Phaser 7500/DN, which was rated at 35 pages per minute for both color and black-and-white printing and ran at 7.1 ppm in our tests. The 7100/DN was faster at duplex printing than the OKI C831DN, another lower-priced color tabloid printer that tested at 7.5 ppm in simplex, but a relatively pokey 5.3 ppm when I switched it to duplex mode.
The 7100/DN’s output quality was very good for a color laser, with average text for lasers, and above-par graphics and photos. Together, the output is good enough for printing advertising materials, such as trifold brochures or real-estate handouts. In our testing, text was good enough for any business use, except for some requiring very small fonts.
Graphics should be fine for most business uses, including PowerPoint handouts, and could be used for basic marketing materials. The main flaw—a minor one at that—was that mild blotchiness was visible in some darker backgrounds.
Nearly all the photo prints passed as true photo quality when seen under glass at arm’s length. Colors were good and well saturated. There was a slight loss of detail in bright areas in a couple of prints.
As a budget duplexing color laser printer that can print up to tabloid size, the Xerox Phaser 7100/DN offers good speed and very good overall output quality. Photos were even better than with its near-twin, the Xerox 7100/N. The 7100/DN’s output quality was better than that of the OKI 831DN, which is similar in price and features, and it was faster than the OKI printer in duplex mode as well.
Although the 7100/DN lacks the Xerox 7500/DN’s natural-language software color control—which lets people with no technical knowledge of color mixing easily tweak colors from print to print by using a series of drop-down menus, with commands such as “green colors slightly more green.”—its output quality was nearly as good. The Xerox 7500/DN also has bigger paper capacity (600 sheets standard) than the 7100/DN, a slightly faster rated speed, and is built for higher print volumes (with a 150,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle), but it comes in at nearly twice the price.
If you don’t have a need for duplex printing, the Xerox Phaser 7100/N offers everything else that the 7100/DN has, for $200 less. But the 7100/DN provides even better output quality, as well as two-sided printing, and is an easy pick as Editors’ Choice for budget, tabloid-size color laser printers.
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Tabloid|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||30 ppm|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)||30 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||1-pass color|
|Technology (for laser category only)||Laser|
|Connection Type||USB, Ethernet|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc