Opinions please: HP or XEROX color laser?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Moof1904, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #1
    Long post, but this first paragraph sums it up: I'm looking to buy a color laser printer for home/home office use and I've narrowed my selection down to the HP Laserjet 3800 dtn or the Xerox Phaser 6350DT. Both are in the same relative price range and offer the key features I'm looking for (color laser, PostScript support, buit-in networking, automatic duplexing, three paper trays/drawers, cross-platform though 90% Mac). I welcome feedback on these two choices and on HP versus Xerox printers in an OSX environment.

    (The rest of the post is just details on what I've found and I'm thinking thus far, so skip it if you want.)

    I have an HP 5500 series laserjet at work and it's a workhorse. Very little trouble in the two years that I've been here and 40 people print to it every day. If this printer is an indication, the HP laser printers are very reliable.

    I'm very impressed, however, with what I read and see about the Xerox Phaser printers and I've found that the Phaser 6350DT has very similar functions for the same relative price range.

    The Xerox is true PostScript level 3 and the HP is only emulation. I know PS emulation is pretty darned good these days and I don't really believe this will be much of an issue for my use. I'd love to hear if anyone else has different experiences with PostScript versus PostScript emulation on recent printers.

    A sore spot for my wife is printing envelopes. If whatever printer we choose can't print business (#10 I believe they're called) envelopes quickly easily and reliably, she'll smash the printer with a hammer and toss the shattered pieces to the street below.

    I've been on the HP web site looking for drivers and docs and such and it sucks. It can't find crap on there. This would make me very grumpy if I were looking for firmware updates or drivers or docs at 11pm with a deadline looming. The Xerox site, on the other hand, is a dream. I just went there and in 30 seconds found drivers, print guides, user documentation, etc., for the Phaser. This suggests a more positive user experience with the Xerox.

    So, Gang, I welcome any opinions. Xerox or HP? Customer satisfaction? Reliability? Envelope printing? OSX support? (95%+ of the printing will be from our three home networked Macs with occassionaly PC printing.)

    I welcome thoughts, suggestions, etc.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    Muncie, Indiana
    #2
    You should consider the Xerox (nee Tek) dye-sub printers. The ink cost is much, much less. I have an old Tek 540 Plus and, while it's been reliable, toner cartridges are hard to find, accessories are expensive, and it's really not very fast.

    Or, consider a B&W laser, with a secondary printer for the color stuff.
     
  3. macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #3
    I am by no means an expert on printers (especially laser printers). However, I have had nothing but good experiences from using multiple HP printers. As far as reliability, HP printers seem to be a good deal. Could be the same for Xerox- I just don't have any experience using their products.

    Sorry, I have little to offer in terms of advice. :eek:
     
  4. ATD
    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #4
    I have an HP Laserjet and I have worked with a Xerox Phaser. The Laserjet is a good printer but the Xerox Phaser is an excellent printer. I have not worked with it a lot but when I have used it I found it to be fast, the color was dead on and because of the way it lays ink on even cheap paper looks good. If I had to buy another printer it would be the Xerox Phaser.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #5
    Most of what we'll be printing seems to lend itself more to color laser than to solid ink. We don't want any issues with ink that can be scratched off or could flake. Plus, the ability to write on top of the color output with a pen, marker, etc. is important. I'm pretty much settled on color laser versus solid ink.

    How about the OSX compatibility between HP and Xerox? Are they both pretty friendly to OSX?
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    Cville, VA
    #6
    ive only had experience with the HP 2500 laserjet series. I am not impressed with the build quality as it broke within the first 6 months of use. That was a light use as our lab group was only 5 people at the time. Granted they were quick to send a replacement, which happened to be a refurb instead of a brand new one. At least this one has been doing well for over a year now. But i was really dissappointed with the weak design that they had for the tray loader. It could be b/c this is the cheaper model, but it still costs a lot.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #7
    Holy crap! I just checked the RAM prices.

    Y'all think Apple's RAM is expensive?!?!? Check this out.

    The Xerox site sells 256 meg chips and 512 meg chips for their printers.

    They cost $812 and $976, respectively.

    That's positively criminal. I wonder if it's possible to go to Crucial and buy it or if they do something slimey to make it impossible to buy memory from anyone except them.

    Anyone know?

    >>>I just checked the newsgroups and I found a couple of posts that said the RAM is standard (and in one case, a poster said that the factory RAM still had the "Crucial" label on it), but if there's a service issue and Xerox finds a third-party RAM chip in the printer that's causing the problem, they'll demand that I pay for the service call. That seems reasonable. One of the first things I'd do to troubleshoot a misbehaving printer is pull the RAM one strip at at time to see if bad RAM was the problem...
     
  8. ATD
    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #8
    The ink stays on the Xerox very well but you will have trouble writing on top of any area that has ink coverage.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Oztrailya
    #9
    We have an HP 2550N here at work. IMO, it is competent as a printer but:

    1) OSX drivers/software are not as functional as fow Windows - that is, you can't find out how much toner is remaining without printing three expensive pages to find out

    2) This may be common with most prosumer colour lasers, but 1 colour page = 4 pages on the imaging drum (the most expensive bit of the consumables). Grayscale is difficult to enable and keep enabled on anything not running Tiger, as far as I can tell (it's a mystery to me).

    3) While we're on consumables... you are forced to replace a single toner cartridge before you carry on printing, should one run out. No colour = no grayscale either. An dang, they're pricey. £50 a cartridge.

    So if this is indicative of HP as a whole... well if I were buying another printer, I'd check out a Xerox, as well as others.

    EDIT: Oh yeah... we have never been able to print natively out of Photoshop 7. We get pages and pages of gibberish. Driver updates, diff versions of OS X... no change. Have to print to pdf first. Very annoying.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    Cville, VA
    #10

    I have to agree, that is one of the most annoying things about the 2500 we have.
     
  11. ATD
    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #11

    It almost seems cheaper to buy another printer than replacing all 4 toners. ;)
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #12
    I agree regarding your preference of toner rather than solid ink. I had one of those for a while. The problem was not the ink cracking, but going soft and smudging in hot weather.

    Apart from that the Xerox colour and colour software was streets ahead of a colour HP (toner) at the time (five years ago) although obviously that might have changed.

    I don't know how well Xerox drivers work on OS X. My (five year old) experience with their Windows drivers was favourable compared with HP.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #13
    I never hear about Xerox consumer printers. I guess they market almost entirely to corporations and small business, since sub $1k color lasers are a new thing...

    Moof1904: I've actually done a lot of research on Xerox printers recently. They receive excellent reviews from CNET, and two in particular -- the Phaser 6120/N (color laser) and Phaser 8500/DN (solid-ink) -- were rated highly by Macworld. I also downloaded the driver for the 8500, just to see. They don't use Apple's Installer, but I'm picky. ;)

    I'm shopping for a printer myself, so I'm interested in what others have to say... and without stealing from your thread, maybe I can introduce a few more questions for anyone who owns a solid-ink Phaser:

    • Is solid-ink as economical as they claim, compared to toner?
    • Is the lower output quality significant, compared to laser?
    • Is the wax annoying in small quarters? Noxious? How much free-space is needed around the printer for ventilation?

    I'm looking for a color printer which can output medium quantities (200-500) of flyers, with good speed and economy. I like the idea of solid-ink because my flyers will implement basic color, so if I run out of blue, I can just pop in another blue ink block.

    The Phaser 6120/N looks great ($450), but the cost of toner is, well, yeah.
     
  14. macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #14
    Yes, you can get Xerox and HP printer memory from a good third-party memory seller. PM me for more info when you have narrowed your model selection.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #15
    As I said earlier, my experience is now five years old, but for what it's worth ...
    1) In Australia the colour blocks were expensive but the black blocks were free. Overall it worked out much cheaper.
    2) At the time the colour was better than laser, and resolution was about the same.
    3) Could not smell the wax. The room needs to be ventilated as for any hot-running equipment, but apart from that I don't recall any special environmental needs. The only caution (and it is spelled out very clearly in the manual) is to turn the printer off and let the wax cool & set before moving the printer - otherwise the wax spills inside the printer and can lead to expensive repairs.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    yankeefan24

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    #16
    same here. I have been using the same hp all in one for years*, and the only problem i have had with it is routing it through my airport express. I think thats the airport's problem, but its not a big problem at all. I have had nothing but good experience with hp printers and i would reccomend them to everyone.

    *i have had more than 1. Just saying i've had my current one for years.
     
  17. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #17
    Thanks for that.

    I just received my Phaser 8550 samples, and, well I'm not sure what I think. The color is vibrant, but there are grainy "CMYK" dots everywhere, literally every inch of the page (something I expected from an ink-jet, not a $900 solid-ink). It really subtracts from the otherwise beautiful sheen... the glossy text is marvelous. That being said, the resolution seems poor, but I'm not a printer expert.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    Wauwatosa, WI
    #18
    I WISH I could afford a Xerox laser color printer. i went to a color management class offered by Apple and the Xerox printer blew everything out of the water. The Rep told me Xerox loves Apple and quoted a price way beyond my price range. It was a beautiful machine. Maybe in the next lifetime.
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #19
    Now that you mention it I do remember the dots. IIRC they did not affect me at the time because most of the work was text with solid colour highlights but few photos. There were no dots in the white spaces.
    It might be worthwhile trying to find a demo machine.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #20
    Thanks for all the great feedback. I have a friend with the HP 3800 so I've hammered on that printer quite a bit. Sometime between now and the end of the weekend I'm going to try and find a local dealer with a demo of the Xerox Phaser that compares. Both are right around $1500 for the features that I'm looking for. I have to say that I'm leaning towards the Xerox at this point, largely because of their color management and what I perceive as a more friendly user experience.

    I'll post some more after my hands-on comparison of the two.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #21
    We just got a Xerox Phaser 8500 las week and it kicks ass. Long story short, we were tired of waiting forever for color pages for company docs, and this thing is the freakin bomb. Sweet web interface, bonjour friendly, it really is a cool printer. I would highly recommend the Phaser.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #22
    Oh, and it takes standard 200 pin SO-DIMM Ram chips too. I threw in an extra stick I had from my powerbook and it worked great.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #23
    Sweet.
     
  24. macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #24
    My experience with HP is that they try to reinvent the wheel as far as the system's print services are concerned. I had so many problems with one client that I ended up pulling all the HP software and used GIMP print to connect to her HP laser printer.

    All my clients with Xerox printers have no problems at all.
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #25
    5 seconds to print... Xerox definitely has bragging rights. And better acceleration than my car. :cool:

    I found that hilarious. Go HP.
     

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