by June 17, 2007 0 comments

Last month we brought you a comprehensive buying guide on laser printers.
This time, we bring you a comprehensive range of options to choose from. We
received a mix of 25 different color and monochrome laser printers for small,
medium, and large workgroups. These included 10 color and 15 monochrome laser
printers between a price band of 10K to Rs 2.30L. That pretty much covers just
about every type of laser printer that’s out there today. We would also like to
point out that 50% of the models we received this time were from HP, which isn’t
surprising given that HP has the largest market share in this segment. So they
whole-heartedly participated in the shootout. In fact, there were so many HP
printers, that some of them could not be ranked because we didn’t receive a
competing model to compare them with.

The models we did receive were categorized in various price bands, which
would suit various budget points. We ensured that the printer prices within each
price band had minimum variation.

Before we get into the reviews, we’d like to take you through a few trends
we’ve observed in laser printers, followed by the procedure we adopted for
testing. Nowadays, all workgroup lasers are print servers in themselves, so a
dedicated computer is not needed to act as a server. Once these are installed on
a network, the other systems on the network can fire a print directly to these
printers. Plus, most of them can be remotely managed by administrators. Some
printers come with separate monitoring and management software that allows you
to manage all printers on the network. Some third party tools are also available
for central monitoring of network printers. These tools can be used for
coordinating and administering an enterprise printing network efficiently. Plus,
they can help an administrator to monitor the supply status of all network
printers and also set user restrictions. Some of the vendors have introduced
printer maintenance services. Under these services, the printer is provided to
you on lease and the vendor charges you on the basis of printer usage and takes
care of the consumables and maintenance. We’ll now take you through how we
tested the laser printers that we received this time.

How we tested
We used our three axis model of performance, price, and features for
evaluating all the printers. We used the Brown-Gibson model to arrive at the
weightages for the various parameters that we used for scoring. This time, as
we’d received a wide variety of printers, there were some categories where there
were only two models. In such cases, we didn’t apply the Brown Gibson model, but
did a one to one comparison between the models.

Performance tests
Once the categorization was done for monochrome and color laser printers we
set up the test-bed for printer testing. Since all printers were meant for
networked workgroups and had Ethernet support, barring one (the Epson
EPL-6200L), we tested them over an isolated network so that there was no
unnecessary traffic to hinder our tests. We performed tests to check for quality
and speed of printing for each printer. The tests were done using Word 2000 and
CorelDraw 9. Each test was repeated thrice and its average was considered. If
the difference between any two readings was more than 10 percent, the test was
repeated. The printer was set to print directly rather than do spooling at the
host machine. This way the memory of the printer could be stressed. The
following tests were done for getting the performance score of the printer.

The speed Tests: We measured the printing speed for the following
types of documents:
1. Time taken to print first page of a multi-page document.
2. Time taken to print a multi-page document.
3. Time to print multiple copies of the same page.
4. Time to print a single page with a small graphic.
5. For color lasers, a 16 MB full-page photograph was printed and the time

Print quality: After setting each printer to the maximum print resolution it
supported, we checked for the following:
1. Smallest readable font.
2. Full-page monochrome graphic.
3. Line art and curves.
4. Grayscale test:
This image has gray shades variation done on a
rectangular ramp of 21 and 51 steps. It is also in form of concentric-circles
where gray shades get lighter to darker from center. We checked how well defined
and distinct these steps and concentric circles can be seen.
5. Quality of fountain fills: This is a smooth gradient of shades of
gray. We checked how accurately each printer was able to replicate this without
any banding.
6. Quality of full-page color image: Here, we took a full color image
print on plain paper as well as on photo paper and then compared the quality.
All the above tests were done on A4 Xerox paper. For color photo printing, we
used 173 GSM photo paper.

Evaluating printer
running costs

Earlier, most printers used to
have a separate drum unit, which had a much longer life than the cartridges.
Nowadays, you’ll notice that a lot of vendors have fused the drum with the
toner cartridge. So you end up replacing the drum every time you change the
cartridge. One key advantage of doing this is that one doesn’t need
technical support to replace the drum, which is the case for printers with
separate drum and toner cartridge units. But is it really cost-effective for
the consumer? To check that we took two printers of the same category. One
had a separate toner and drum (namely X) and the other had a fused cartridge
unit (namely Y). The drum of printer X had a life of 30,000 pages. We
calculated how many toner changes would be required to print 30,000 pages
from each printer. The cost of toner unit of printer X was Rs 4,400 with a
yield of 7,500 pages and the cost of cartridge of printer Y was Rs 7,497
with a yield of 6,500 pages. The printer X would have consumed 4 toner units
before its drum would need replacement. So, the total price would be for 5
toner units and drum, which comes to of Rs.28,050. Printer Y would need five
cartridges to print 30,000 pages, raising the total cost to Rs 37,485. So
the running cost of Y is much higher. We suggest that you do also do these
rough calculations before buying a printer to understand its running cost.

This time, we compared the monochrome and color lasers for 15 and 16
different features respectively. The features we compared for monochrome lasers
included maximum supported resolution of the print engine, the availability and
functionality of a control panel on each printer; auto-duplex capability;
cartridge/toner life; maximum memory supported, types and sizes of paper
supported, manageability features, number of trays and tray capacities,
availability of hard drive, the Operating Systems for which drivers were
available (online as well as with the product), types of print jobs supported,
secure printing capabilities, and additional features if any. For color lasers,
we used the above parameters, plus a 16th parameter for standards supported like
PCL, PS, and Pantone certification.

For each of the features, we actually counted the supported parameters. In
case of printer accessories for instance, w e looked for the total number of
input trays available, whether additional paper trays could be accommodated, etc.
We also looked for things like ease of upgrading. For this, we looked at how
easily you could access different parts inside to upgrade the printer, like
adding a hard disk, compact flash memory, RAM or a wireless network card. We
also looked at ease of setup and configuration, printing modes, recovery from
paper jam, support for multiple platforms and other features, if any. In case a
printer category didn’t have some of the features, then those features were
removed from the scoring to ensure they didn’t affect the printer scores.

Here, it’s not just the price of the printer that’s important, but also its
warranty, support, and running cost such as cost of toner cartridge, drum, RAM
upgrade, etc. Out of all these, support provided by the vendor is extremely
crucial. However, judging the quality of that is not something that can be done
in a lab. You would need to make your own judgment on that. Some guiding
parameters to help you decide can be the total number of service centers, the
type of warranty offered by the vendor, assurance on next/same day replacement
of bad parts, etc.

Entry Level Color Laser Printers

Xerox 6110 N

+ Good print quality
Takes more time in
printing first page
Overall Score 218

The Xerox 6110 N is a good option if you are looking at a low cost, high
speed and barebone color laser. Being barebone, it doesn’t have any LCD display
control panel. no additional paper trays, a paper tray capacity of only 150
sheets, and no real additional features. Plus, the rated yield of its cartridges
is 1000 pages per color cartridge, which is just half of the two HP printers in
its category. The printer comes with 32 MB memory, which unfortunately is not
expandable. This is much better than the HP 2600N, which only supports a max
memory of 16 MB. The 6110N gave the highest print speeds in its category. It
managed to churn out 15 pages per minute, with the first page out in just 11
seconds. A full page graphic came out in just 14 secs, which was less than half
the time taken by its competitors. But printing a page with small color graphics
took the same amount of time. Print quality of this printer was nothing to write
home about. It showed broken lines in line art, color graphics weren’t very good,
and likewise for monochrome graphics quality. For black printing, you have to
select the ‘use black color’ option from its properties, else it will use up the
color cartridges. Overall, it’s a good barebones printer for a small office that
prefers speedy color prints.

Price: Rs 18,980 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Xerox India, Delhi.
Tel: 0124-2561930
SMS Buy 130641 to 6677

HP Color LaserJet 2600n

+ Good print quality
Takes more time in printing first page
Overall Score 224

This HP 2600 is more feature rich than the Xerox 6110N. It’s a little slower
than the Xerox, but what it looses out in speed, it gains in quality. The
printer gave much better graphics quality than the Xerox 6110N. It also scores
more in the features department as compared to the Xerox 6110N. For one, it has
an LCD panel for better manageability. It has a higher capacity paper tray of
250 pages, plus you have an option to add another tray. One hitch is that the
printer comes with only 16 MB memory, which is not expandable. The printer’s
cartridges give a higher rated yield than the Xerox printer. This comes to 2500
for black and 2000 for color cartridges at 5% coverage. It supports a maximum
resolution of 600×600 dpi. Coming to performance, the printer achieved 7 ppm
print speed and took 25 secs to print the first page. Printing full-page color
graphics with this printer took about 37 secs, and having a print out with small
graphics on the page took the printer almost 25 secs. In quality, the results
were satisfying. In full page color graphics, the quality of the print out was
pretty good. In CMY print test, the performance was not good. It showed some
banding and we saw some patches on prints. But in gray scale printing, it really
performed well. In line art printing, we observed that the curves were very
smooth as were the lines and shades. This indeed helps it to cover up the speed
demerit. Overall, it’s a good buy given its price and features.

Price: Rs 19,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: HP India, Gurgaon
Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130642 to 6677

HP ColorLaserJet 2605 dn

+ Support for 1200 dpi,
has a duplex unit
Takes time in printing
in first page
Overall Score 241

Performance and features are the two things that have helped the 2605 DN
become the winner in entry-level color lasers. It is somewhat similar to HP 2600
N laser printer, but costlier due to additional features and better performance.
For one, you can expand its memory to 320 MB memory. The printer also comes with
a duplexer unit. It supports 600×600 dpi resolution for color and 1200×1200 dpi
for black and white, which is an advantage over the HP 2600 N. The yield of its
cartridges is the same as its younger cousin–2500 pages for black and 2000
pages (per cartridge) for color with 5% coverage area. Coming to print speeds,
the printer could print a multi-page text document at 12 ppm. For the remaining
speed tests, its performance was similar to the 2600N. In duplex printing, it
clocked 9 ppm. Coming to print quality, we took print outs of full page color
graphics and the quality was really very good compared to all other printers in
its group. The CMY test was also good. In line art printing, the curves were
very smooth and the lines were distinct and clear. The gray scale clarity was
also very much satisfying. All the rectangular and circular bands were
distinctly visible . Despite a higher price, the printer gains over others due
to its features and performance.

Price: Rs 26,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130643 to 6677

Medium Workgroup Color Laser printers

HP LaserJet 3000n

+ High RAM, Good
print quality

This printer gives an excellent combination of performance, price, and
features, which make it the winner in this category. The printer with its 533
MHz processor and 128 MB RAM can handle large volumes and complex documents for
printing. It has slots for extending the memory up to 512 MB, which is much
higher than 16 MB of the Canon LBP 5300. The printer is easy to install and you
can configure its network settings directly from its 2-line LCD control panel.
You can also manage it remotely from a web browser. It has manageability
features like color access control, using which you can restrict the users who
can print in color. Its input tray capacity is 250-sheets and you can add an
optional 500-sheets tray. The rated cartridge life is 6,500 pages for black
color and 3,500 for color (CMY) cartridges. The 3000N also supports secure
printing, which is not there in Canon. It does however, lack an auto-duplexer
that comes as standard accessory with the latter.

The printer has a resolution of 600×600 dpi. The 3000n performs better than
Canon LBP 5300, giving a print speed of 29 PPM and first page out in about 9
seconds. The printing speed for color pages is slower than mono prints, which is
unusual, as most laser printers in this price range print both at same speed.
The full-page color print took about 21 seconds, while a document containing
text with small graphics took 14 seconds. In quality tests, it gave good quality
grayscale prints, with no banding. Line art and curves printing was smooth with
no breakage. Full page graphics looked more natural and sharper.

The printer supports an optional HDD for job-storage. With this price and
features, the printer is good value for money.

Price: Rs 70,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130646 to 6677

Canon LBP 5300

+ Auto duplexer, fast
color printing
High consumables
cost, no RAM upgrade

This printer has a higher color print speed than the HP 3000N. Moreover, this
is the same as its black print speed. The printer has a standard memory of 16 MB
that can’t be extended. It’s easy to configure and install on a network, despite
the fact that it does not have an LCD control panel. The installation software
detects the printer through its MAC address after which you can assign it an IP
address. The printer has a rated cartridge life of 6,000 pages for both color
and black cartridges. It has a built-in auto-duplexing unit. This saves time and
paper. The printer has an input tray capacity of 250 sheets and an optional
500-sheet tray. With no HDD expansion option and no additional memory, the
features of job storage and secured printing cannot be availed. The browser
interface provides better manageability with features like IP filtering, so that
you can restrict access to it. On the performance front the Canon LBP 5300 has
faster print times for color printing as compared to HP LJ 3000N. The printer
gave a speed of 22 ppm, with first page out in 11 secs. Its color printing speed
was almost the same as it monochrome print speed. It took about 11 secs to print
a full page text with small graphic. The quality tests showed some banding in
fountain fills. Line formation was smooth, but there was some jaggedness in
curves. Full-page color graphic prints took 15 secs and were of average quality.
Grayscale prints showed all bands of gray shades for both circular and
rectangular bands.

Overall a good printer, but RAM is a limitation.

Price: Rs 85,995(2 yr warranty)
Contact: Canon India Private Limited, Gurgaon. Tel:
SMS Buy 130647 to 6677

Large Workgroup Color Laser printers

HP 5550 DN

+ Good quality,
high speed
Takes time to
print first page

This is a heavy-duty printer meant for large workgroups. It has the
capability of printing A3 size pages with maximum resolution of 600 dpi. It has
a total yield of 13,000 pages with black cartridge, and 12,000 pages with the
color cartridge (5% coverage area). It has duplex printing, and comes with 160
MB installed memory that can be upgraded to 544 MB. It has a RISC processor of
533 MHz. The standard paper tray is of 500 pages, but you can add up to three
additional trays with capacity of 500 pages each. It has an output tray of 250
pages. You have the option of installing a 20 GB HDD in it. Installing the
printer is pretty simple and its web interface let’s you easily manage the
printer remotely. It has features like IP filtering, which actually help you to
restrict or allow specific IPs for printing. It also has the option of sending
alerts to you via emails. Coming to performance, the printer takes a long time
to warm up. So the first print of a multi-page document takes around 15 seconds.
But printing speed is good at 28 ppm. In duplex printing it gave 13ppm. The
printer did well in quality printing, and as good as the Canon LBP 5960. Full
page color graphics are excellent. CMY prints were very vivid with all
variations in primary colors distinctly visible. Line art and curves printing
was excellent with smooth edges and fountain fills. In gray scale printing, it
performed very well and we were able to count all the shades without any
difficulty. In addition the color variation was also good. Overall, an excellent
buy for large workgroups looking for both good quality and speedy prints.

Price: Rs 2,34,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Tel- 2566111

SMS Buy 130648 to 6677

Canon LBP 5960

+ Excellent print speeds
Print Quality

This is a good choice for large workgroups wanting fast color printing. This
printer can also print A3 pages like the 5550 DN, and supports a higher
resolution of 1200 dpi. The printer’s cartridge gives a total yield of 10,000
pages for black and 6,000 pages for color (with 5% coverage area). It has a 400
MHz processor, comes with 128 MB of installed memory that can be expanded to 384
MB. This printer has input/output trays of 250 sheets each, and you can install
an additional three trays with 550 sheets per tray. Like HP 5550 DN, this
printer also has an option for IP filtering and for sending alerts. You can
optionally install a 20 GB hard disk. Its LCD control panel has only a single
line display, which makes it a little convenient to navigate. The HP 5550 DN has
a 4-line display, which is more user friendly. Installing this printer is simple
and the browser interface is also good. Coming to performance, this printer did
much better than HP 5550DN. It took only 8 secs to print the first page, and its
speed was 30 ppm. It printed at 17 ppm in duplex mode. It took 9 seconds to
print a full page of text with color graphic as well as a full page graphic.
Print quality was not as vivid and detailed as the ones printed from HP. In gray
scale test the band was distinctly visible, but the gray scale variation was not
so satisfactory. Overall, an excellent printer for workgroups requiring high
speed prints, but quality is not as good as the 5550DN.

Price: Rs 2,29,995 (2 yr warranty)
Contact: Canon India Private Limited, Gurgaon. Ph: –
SMS Buy 130649 to 6677

Entry Level Mono Laser Printers


+ Small size
No network adapter
Overall Score 234

This was the only printer in the shootout to have optional network support.
It didn’t ship with a network port, so we had to test it with its USB 1.1
interface. The printer is meant either for personal use, or for sharing amongst
very few people. It supports a maximum resolution of 600 x 600 dpi. Its toner’s
rated yield is approx. 3000 pages with 5% coverage area. It has 2 MB fixed and
non-expandable memory. Coming to performance, it printed the first page in 14
seconds, which was a little slower than others in its category. For multi-page
documents, it printed at a rate of 22 ppm, which is good compared to others. It
took 15 seconds for printing a full page with mono graphics. In the quality
test, it wasn’t very impressive as the full page mono graphics print had a
little bit of banding. In line art prints, the curves were not smooth. Even the
lines were broken. In gray scale, the bands were distinctly visible and the
print quality was not satisfying. Overall, a good printer for personal use,
provided you only print regular text pages with it.

Price: Rs 10,800 (2 yr warranty)
Contact: Epson India, Bangalore.
Ph: 30515000
E-mail: SMS
Buy 130650 to 6677

Canon LBP-1210

+ Zero warm-up time
USB 1.1
Overall Score 254

This was the best personal laser printer of the lot, giving excellent
performance and a decent set of features at a very good price. It supporrts a
maximum resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, has a 16 MHz processor and 2 MB installed
memory. This printer has both a USB 1.1 and a network port. One good thing is
that it has zero warm-up time, so unlike other printers you need not wait for it
to get ready to print. On the performance front, time taken to print the first
page was just 10 seconds, which was the best in its category. It gave a print
speed of 14 ppm, which is as per its rating, but also the lowest in the group.
The printer took 13 seconds to print a full-page monochrome graphics, which is
good. On the print quality front, it was amongst the best in its category,
falling very close behind the top performer of the group, the Samsung 2571N.The
print quality in full page monochrome graphics however was average. Line art
printing was fine, and curves printing was smooth. In gray scale test, the bands
were clear enough to be counted though some were merged. The smallest readable
font was 2 point, but with a little bit of jaggedness. Overall, it’s an
excellent choice for personal printing requirements, or even for very small

Price: Rs 10,995 (2 yr warranty)
Contact: Canon India, Gurgaon
Ph: 1800-345-33-66
SMS Buy 130651 to 6677

Samsung 2571N

+ Supports 1200 dpi
No control panel
Overall Score 253

This entry level monochrome printer gave the best performance and had the
best features in its group. However, it was a little more expensive. Samsung
supports a resolution of 1200×1200 dpi. It has a 400 MHz processor and ships
with 32 MB RAM, which is not expandable. Setting up this printer on a network
was a bit complex. You need to install a different software provided with the
printer itself to assign it an IP address. Only after that can you install the
regular software and drivers for it. If you try to directly install the drivers,
then the software won’t be able to find the printer. In the speed tests, the
time taken for the first page was 11 secs, and the average print speed came to
22 ppm, which is really good. Full-page monochrome graphics page took 12 secs to
print. In quality tests, the minimum readable font that the printer could print
was 2 Point Bold. Line art and grayscale printing was average. The curves were
not very smooth and in printing bands of different shades, not all the bands
were visible. We then ran all our quality tests on 1200×1200 dpi resolution, and
the results were much better. Minimum readable font size was now 2 Point Normal.
Line art printing was very smooth, but there were still a few breaks in the
curves. In gray scale printing, the bands were much more clear. Overall, its
print quality was the best of the lot. Given its set of features and
performance, the printer is a good choice for personal use.

Price: Rs 12,990(1 yr warranty)
Contact: Samsung India Electronics, Delhi. Ph: 51511234
SMS Buy 130652 to 6677

HP LaserJet 1022N

+ Compact, supports
1200 dpi
No control panel
Overall Score 245

This HP 1022N was the most compact personal laser of the lot. This printer
has both a USB 2.0 interface as well as a network port, which can be used for
sharing the printer between a very small workgroup. This was also the most
expensive printer in its category. This printer also supports 1200×1200 dpi
resolution, like the Samsung 2571N. This printer has only 8 MB memory installed
and has a 266 MHz processor. The yield of its cartridge is 2500 pages. The
installation of this printer is also complex. Initially you have to install a
software called SetIP which searches for the printer on the network, and let’s
you assign an IP address to it. You can install the drivers for it after
that.Its browser based management interface is good and provides basic
functionality. In the speed test, time taken to print the first page was 11 secs,
which is decent, and the average print rate was 17 ppm, which is a bit slow
compared to the Epson and Samsung printers in this category. For printing full-page graphics, the printer took 12 secs,
which is good. Full-page monochrome graphics weren’t as good as the others. The
picture appeared hazy and pixelated. The gray scale test for printing shades of
gray was good. In line art, the printer performed average, and lineart and
curves printing was not smooth. Nevertheless, the printer came with the cheapest
consumables, making it an attractive buy.

Price: Rs 14,999 (3 yrs warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130653 to 6677

Small Workgroup Mono Laser Printers

Samsung ML-3051N

+ High yield cartridges,

toner save button
Average graphics
Overall Score 230

This network ready printer scored the highest in features in its category.
Performance was also good, and it was also the lowest priced. However, it also
had the lowest warranty of the lot. The printer suupports a maximum resolution
of 1200 dpi, has 64 MB installed memory, which can be expanded to 320 MB. It has
400 MHz processor. It has an input tray of 250 sheets and the output tray of 150
sheets. The printer supports drivers for Windows, Linux and Mac, including
Windows Server 2003. This printer’s cartridges had the highest yield of the lot
at 8000 pages. Moreover, it even has a toner save button to improve the yield
even further. In speed tests, the time taken to print the first page was 10 secs
and the printing speed was 25 ppm. The printer took 11 seconds to print a
full-page monochrome graphic, and the quality was not very good. There was some
banding in the image. Line art was also average with visible jaggedness. Curves
were not continuous but broken. Smallest readable font size at 600 dpi was 2
point bold, where at 1200 dpi, even 2 point normal was visible. Overall, this is
a small workgroup printer meant for those on a tight budget.

Price: Rs 21,990 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Samsung India Electronics, Delhi. Tel: 51511234
E-mail: SMS Buy
130654 to 6677

Brother HL 5250 DN

+ Automatic duplex
Overall Score 234

This printer gave the best performance of the lot. Add to that a decent set
of features, price, and 3 years warranty, and you have a winner. The printer
supports a maximum resolution of 1200 dpi, has a 266 MHz processor and 32 MB
installed memory, which is expandable to an amazing 544 MB. It has a paper input
tray capacity of 250 sheets. The OS support is available for Windows, Linux and
Mac. It supports duplex printing, thereby helping in saving pages. The total
yield of its cartridge is 3500 with 5% coverage area. In the speed test, it took
only 7 secs to print the first page, and gave an average print speed of 28 ppm.
In duplex printing, the speed was 15 pages per minute. In quality test, the
smallest readable font was 2-point normal. In full-page graphics, the printed
graphics appeared good, and the variation in shades was also fine. Line art and
curves printing was also very good. So if you’re looking for a workhorse for a
small workgroup, then go for this printer given its decent print speed, memory
support, and print quality. Moreover, since it has a separate drum and
cartridge, its running cost is also lower.

Price: Rs 27,230 (3 yr warranty)
Contact: Brother International, Mumbai. Tel: 40988900
SMS Buy 130655 to 6677

Canon LBP 3360

+ Zero warm up time,
first page out in 9 secs
RAM not expandable
Overall Score 204

While the initial cost of this laser printer is the highest, its
consumables cost is the lowest. However, with cost, the yield of the cartridge
also comes down. As compared to others in its group, this printer’s cartridge
gives a yield of 2500 pages. This printer supports a maximum resolution of 600
dpi, which is the lowest in its category. Plus, it comes with 64 MB RAM, which
is not expandable, and the lowest in its category. The printer has a RISC
processor inside. With its small size and looks, it is a good choice for any
office environment. It requires zero warm up time. In speed test, it printed the
first page in 9 seconds, which is pretty good. The average print speed is 20 ppm.
In printing a full-page monochrome graphic, the printer took almost 11 secs,
which is just fine for the printers in this work group. Line art printing was
good, with smooth plotting of lines and curves. Printing of grayscale shades was
above average. Overall an average printer for small workgroups.

Price: Rs 28,995 (2 yr warranty)
Contact: Canon India Private Limited, Gurgaon. Ph:
SMS Buy 130656 to 6677

Brother HL-6050dn

+ 3 years warranty;
auto-duplexer built-in
Average print quality
Overall Score 254

This printer stands a winner in this category with a good balance of price,
performance and features. The printer leads with good pricing and offers
auto-duplex printing out of the box. The printer has a standard 32 MB RAM that
can be extended up to 160 MB; and has a processor of 200 MHz. It has a
heavy-duty cartridge with rated yield of 7500 pages, and yet its cartridge cost
is the lowest in its group. With optional flash memory the job storage and
secured printing can be done. The printer installation is easy and the network
settings for it can be configured through the control panel. The LCD display
shows the printer status and in case of problems like paper jams, the printer
raises an alarm. This alarm functionality is useful in workgroup environment so
as to grab attention; otherwise a number of print jobs will be piled up in queue
with no one to attend the problem.
Talking about performance, the printer has a maximum resolution of 1200×1200 dpi
and it gives good quality prints in text-based tests. While in grayscale tests
little banding was visible, but it gave excellent prints in line-art tests. In
speed tests, the performance was below average; it gave a first page print in
about 13 seconds and the overall speed was 22 PPM.

Overall, it’s a combination of features, performance, and pricing that make
this printer a winner in this category. It’s a good buy for medium workgroups.

Price: Rs 35,920 (3 yr warranty)
Contact: Brother International (India) Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai. Ph:
SMS Buy 130657 to 6677

HP LaserJet 3005n

+ High RAM, Highest
printing speed
High price
Overall Score 217

This printer is meant for medium workgroups and has a maximum resolution of
1200×1200 dpi. Powered by a 400 MHz processor and with 80 MB RAM it can handle
large files printing jobs. It has a fast printing speed and its RAM can be
upgraded to 320 MB. Unlike other printers in this category, an auto-duplexer
unit is not a part of standard accessory with HP LJ-3005n. The installation of
the printer is easy and for network settings, the configuration can be done
manually through the control panel of the printer. The control panel menu has a
‘Show Me How’ option that gives a pictorial representation of some printer
handling steps.

The rated cartridge yield is about 6,500 pages and can suffice the needs of a
medium workgroup that has a large quantity of print job. This is complemented
with an input tray having a capacity of 500-sheets.

In performance tests the printer was able to achieve 36 PPM , which is the
highest in this category. It gave a first page out in about 10 seconds. In
quality tests, the printer managed to print excellent full page monochrome
graphics. Line art printing however, was average. The printer scored fine in
other grayscale printing tests. If you’re looking for a high speed printer and
are willing to pay the price, then go for this.

Price: Rs 49,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130658 to 6677

Xerox Phaser 3428DN

+ Auto-duplexing, best
performance score
High cost of
Overall Score 233

This printer was the best performer in its category, and even its pricing
score was decent. It scored a little low in the features department. The printer
has a maximum resolution of 1200X1200 dpi and gives excellent prints. It comes
with 64 MB RAM that can be extended up to 320 MB. The printer’s 400 MHz
processor can handle complex print jobs with ease. It also has an auto-duplexer
as a standard accessory for two-side printing that saves time and paper. Being a
network printer it also has browser interface for remote administration. The
control panel includes a two-line LCD display where through menu the printer
settings can be done even for the network.
The printer leads in this category in performance score. In our tests, it gave
good quality text prints. Similarly with full-page graphics and grayscale tests
the quality was better than other two printers. During speed tests the printer
gave a first page print in about 8 seconds while it was able to achieve its
rated print speed of 30 PPM.
Overall, a good performance printer available at a competitive price.

Price: Rs 35,152 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Xerox India Ltd., New Delhi. Ph: 0124-2561930
E-mail: SMS Buy
130659 to 6677

Large Workgroup Mono Laser Printers

HP LaserJet 4250n

+ Fast print speed with
good quality
Overall Score 275

This printer with its 45 ppm speed can do heavy print jobs with great ease.
Its print speed remains unmatched in this category. The HP LJ 4250n has a
perfect balance of price, performance and features and that’s why it’s the
winner in this category. It comes with 64 MB RAM with an option to extend it up
to 512 MB. Its 460 MHz processor is the workhorse behind its fast and crisp

The printer installation is easy and through the control panel that has a
4-line LCD display the printer can be manually configured for an IP address. The
browser interface gives an administrator manageability options like user
restriction and alerts. The auto-duplex printing unit can be installed as an
optional feature. As it is meant for large workgroups, it has a high input tray
capacity of 500 sheets.

On performance front it scored highest in this category. While testing, the
printer easily achieved its rated speed of 45 ppm and takes about 8 secs to
print the first page. With a resolution of 1200 dpi, it gives fine and crisp
prints in all quality tests. For gray scale printing, the quality was best and
there wasn’t any banding.

The printer has instant-on technology, so it takes less time to warm up after
coming out of power-save mode and prints the first page in about 20 secs. There
are two slots for Compact Flash that can be used to enable use of third party
tools like secured printing. The optional HDD can be used for job storage. It is
well suited for corporate offices where workgroups have high gray scale print
jobs and also want quality with speed.

Price: Rs 71,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130660 to 6677

HP LaserJet 5200n

+Wide-format printing,
high-yield cartridge
Priced highest in
this category
Overall Score 226

The printer can support A3 printing and that is the reason it’s priced higher
despite having lesser features compared to HP LJ-4250n. The printer comes with
64 MB RAM that can be extended up to 512 MB. It has two Compact Flash slots that
can be used to install third-party tools like barcode printing or additional

The printer installation is an easy process and the network configuration of
the printer can be done manually using the control panel. The browser interface
provides better manageability with features like user access control, alerts and
monitoring supplies status. The printer has an input as well as output tray
capacity of 250 sheets. In the performance tests the printer performed well. It
gave a speed of 36 ppm with a first page print in about 9 secs. The printer has
a maximum resolution of 1200×1200 dpi. The quality of printing during tests was
fine and crisp barring the gray scale tests where the banding was clearly

This HP printer also has instant-on technology so warm up time is less. The
A3 printing support makes it ideal choice for workgroups that have to print
financial spreadsheets or building designs.

Price: Rs 74,999 (1 yr warranty)
Contact: Hewlett-Packard India, Gurgaon. Ph: 2566111
SMS Buy 130661 to 6677

Canon LBP 3500

+ A3 printing, high yield

Low RAM, high
consumables cost
Overall Score 215

This Canon printer has a maximum resolution of 1200×600 dpi. It comes with a
standard RAM of 8 MB with no expandability option. It has support for printing
A3 size pages. The control panel lacks a display LCD so there are just basic
control features for the printer. The printer has 250-sheet tray capacity for
both input and output trays. As this is meant for large workgroups, an optional
additional tray with capacity of 500 sheets can also be installed. The printer’s
cartridge has a rated yield of 12000 pages. Unfortunately, its cartridge cost
isalso the highest.

On the performance front, the printer has a rated speed of 25 ppm and during
tests it was able to achieve that easily. The time to print first page was also
about 10 secs. With such a high print resolution, the printer gave excellent
text prints while on gray scale prints some banding could be found. In another
quality test of line art, the line formation was smooth and no jaggedness of
curves was visible. Printing a full-page monochrome graphic took about 12 secs.
The quality of the image was average with some banding visible on dark patches.

This printer is ideal for workgroups that have print jobs needing wide paper
size printing.

Price: Rs 64,995 (2 yr warranty)
Contact: Canon India Private Limited, Gurgaon. Ph:
SMS Buy 130662 to 6677

Other Color Laser Printers
As these printers could not be clubbed into any of the other categories, due
to a wide variation in their price, they’ve not been ranked. We’ve reviewed them
nevertheless to give you more options to choose from.

HP Color LaserJet 4700 N

+ Fine print quality and
  good printing speed

This HP 4700 is a large workgroup color laser printer. It supports a maximum
resolution of 600 dpi, and has 160 MB installed memory though it can support up
to 544 MB. It has a 533 MHz processor. It comes with standard input tray
capacity of 500 pages and output capacity of 500 pages. You can put one
additional tray with the capacity of 500 pages. The total yield of the cartridge
is 10,000 pages for black and 6,000 pages for color with 5% percent coverage. It
has an option of IP filtering with an additional feature called ‘Color
restrict’. Through this option you can restrict specified users from taking
color print outs, and thus save color cartridge from unwanted use. It has a
four-line control panel display, which is easy to navigate. You can configure
color restrict option from the control panel also. You can also add a stacker or
stapler, which is added advantage for large work group laser printers. You can
install 20 GB HDD. Like others, this printer also has an option for sending
alerts. In speed tests, time taken to print first page was 10 secs, and average
print rate was 30 ppm. To print text with small graphics, the printer took 11
secs and to print full-page graphics it took 11 seconds. Quality-wise, the
full-page color graphic was good and more elaborative. In CMYK test, the
performance was very good. In line art and gray scale tests it performed so well
that we gave it 10 on 10. Overall it is a good printer for large workgroups.

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