Xerox's New Phaser 7300 Pushes Speed Limits At 30 PPM In Color

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CRN Test Center engineers are a spoiled group, always getting to play with the latest and greatest computer products. Unfortunately, testing PCs has become boring, as they're all pretty fast.

Laser printers, though, are just entering their Golden Age, in which color pages can be printed about as quickly as monochrome pages. The Xerox Phaser 7300, for example, can print up to 30 pages per minute in color and

37 pages per minute in black

and white.

The single-pass Phaser 7300, available now, has a 500MHz processor, making it the fastest workgroup color printer available today, according to Xerox. It can print at resolutions up to 2400 dpi and offers convenient features such as Smart Trays technology, which automatically displays the type of media available in each of the paper trays, and a toner thickness sensor, which automatically adjusts toner density for consistent print quality. The printer alerts users to potential delays due to such as low toner or paper. The Phaser 7300 will accept all standard office paper, labels, transparencies and custom media up to 12 inches by 36 inches.

The Phaser 7300 was easy to set up. Test Center engineers

just removed the various bits of packing materials and tape and attached the four toner reservoirs to their respective transfer mechanisms in slots at the top of the printer. There is no messy oil bottle to deal with.

Included with the Phaser 7300 are four standard-capacity toner cartridges in cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The standard-capacity cartridges are each good for printing approximately 7,500 pages at 5 percent coverage. High-capacity cartridges are also available, which should last twice as long with an average life of 15,000 pages each at 5 percent coverage per page. Each toner cartridge requires its own imaging unit, which are sold in sets of four. A set of imaging units is included with the printer and is rated to last approximately 30,000 pages. Other consumables include a fuser and transfer unit, each rated at 80,000 pages. All of the consumables are very easy to replace, so solution providers won't have to spend much time at it.

Accessories for the Phaser 7300 include additional memory in various sizes up to 512 Mbytes. Two sheet feeders are also available,one with a 550-sheet capacity and a high-volume unit with a 1,650-sheet capacity. A duplex assembly allows for two-sided printing, and a 10 Gbyte internal hard drive is also available. Most customers interested in buying a printer of this nature at some point will need at least a few of the add-ons. Installing the accessories represents increased profits for the solution provider.

Although all of the options are easy to install, end users should not install them. Xerox honors its warranty only if all servicing is done by authorized individuals.

Weighing in at 150 pounds, the Phaser 7300 is not a small printer by any means. In fact, two people are needed to set it up or, at the very least, to lift it off its pallet. It took just a few minutes to install the drivers,the printer actually spit out its color startup page before the drivers were fully installed.

Engineers tested the printer using sample files from Spencer and Associates' printer test suite. The collection of images and documents is good at revealing any inherent weaknesses that a printer might exhibit.

Test Center engineers first printed a 10-page Microsoft Word document, with bits of scattered color throughout. The first page shot out of the printer in about 11 seconds, and all 10 pages were completed in a mere 28 seconds. That works out to about 2 seconds per page, or 30 pages per minute. Monochrome printing is faster but not by much. Engineers printed the same 10-page document in monochrome only; the first page took the same 11 seconds to print, and all 10 were done in 25 seconds.

The Phaser 7300 is so fast that it's not easy to benchmark with a stopwatch, mostly because it's difficult to keep track of how many pages have already been printed. Image quality is top-notch, and color printouts have glossiness to them that some other brands do not.

CRN Test Center engineers have been quite impressed by all of Xerox's new printers this year. Xerox continues to impress with its new Phaser 7300.

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