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A Workhorse Color Printer

By Mick Lockey Xerox is aiming its freshest group of printers--the Phaser 8200s--at small to medium-size businesses. I looked at a shipping Phaser 8200N, an affordable choice for workgroups that need a full-featured, networkable color printer. This solid-ink printer ships with software that detects IP addresses automatically--a time-saver for businesses with small (or harried) IT staffs.

The $1899 Phaser 8200N uses blocks of waxy ink that taper to a V at one end to ease insertion and removal. Hot waxy ink has been known to emit pungent odors during large print jobs, but that didn't happen in our tests with the 8200N. Xerox's inking technology involves spraying melted ink onto a drum once before transferring it to the page. Theoretically, this process is faster than the one that four-pass color laser printers use.

In our speed tests, the Phaser 8200N produced text documents a bit pokily, at only 7.5 pages per minute. On the other hand, graphics zipped out at 2.9 ppm--faster than some pricier color laser printers we've tested, such as the $2069 Lexmark C720n, which prints graphics at 2.0 ppm. Unfortunately, the 8200 didn't produce consistently high-grade text. In some cases, it wasn't a lot crisper than a good-quality ink jet's output. The 8200N did deliver vivid colors in its prints, but it missed a few details, such as a strawberry's tiny speckles in a cropped close-up photo. Still, it printed without smears, even after producing a series of pages containing lots of color.

This printer is not for businesses that print large quantities of text-heavy documents or for those that need excellent color prints. But if you print a lot of color drafts with both text and graphics, take a look at the Xerox 8200N. From the August 2002 issue of PC World magazine

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