GCN LAB REVIEW—Printers

Xerox Phaser 6280

The Xerox Phaser 6280 produces vibrant colors and accurate images — if you have the time to wait around for them to print

Pros: Beautiful color printing, captures even fine image details
Cons: Very slow graphical print speeds, line art comes out a touch red
Color Accuracy: A+
Color Speed: C-
B&W Speed: A
Features: B
Value: A-
Price: $549

In our initial tests, it looked like Xerox was cruising for another roundup review win. Although the Phaser 6280 was initially impressive, it failed to go the distance — at least quickly.

Looking at individual prints from the Phaser 6280, we could tell that the printer was designed for graphical excellence. In test after test, it was able to reproduce accurate colors and perfectly rendered images. The one slight problem we detected was with images over graphics. The Phaser produced that telltale halo effect that sometimes happens if a printer doesn’t do it quite right. But this was a minor flaw in an otherwise stellar color performance.


Products in this review:

When color matches quality and price
Brother HL-4070CDW
Epson B 500DN
Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CP3525x
Lexmark C734dn
Panasonic KX MC6040


But then when we tried to print the color images all at once in the form of our 30-page graphical test document, the Phaser 6280 stumbled badly.

It started printing the pages OK — and quickly. But when it got to a complex image of a field of alarm clocks, it choked, even sending back an error message to our test computer saying that it couldn’t continue. Given that this was the eighth page of a 30-page document, we were worried that the Phaser 6280 wouldn’t even finish. We fished around the status screens of the printer and discovered that the error message was “10 error Offending Command: image. Stack: dictionary.” Basically, the Phaser 6280 had run out of memory trying to process the large file.

However, we discovered something funny. If we ignored the error message and just let the printer keep going, it would finish the document, after brooding over the alarm clocks for about a minute. Given that the clocks are in the test document three times, you can imagine what this did to the Phaser’s time. It finally finished the 30 pages in a painful 5 minutes, 33 seconds. That time would have been about average for printers we tested in the lab more than 10 years ago. It’s worth noting that no other printer in the roundup had trouble with the test document. Even the slower inkjet printer completed the test in less than two minutes.

Thankfully, the Phaser 6280 did much better with text printing, finishing in 1 minute, 6 seconds, which was tied for the fastest time.

The low price and high-quality output of the Phaser 6280 means you shouldn’t completely rule it out, but if you are printing any complex images with it, you should definitely spring for the extra memory.

Xerox, 800-275-9376, www.xerox.com/office

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

Reader Comments

Fri, Sep 18, 2009 JKy

I would be surprised that an office with "up to 25 people dumping print jobs to the printer" would purchase the cheapest printer available. Maybe this is a personnel issue...

Tue, Sep 15, 2009 Editor

Editor's Note: We talked with Xerox and found that unit can have its memory expanded, which should help to eliminate the problem. --John Breeden II

Tue, Sep 15, 2009

Thank you for explaining the cause of the color printing stumble. NMCI has claimed that there is nothing wrong with our printers, but we have experienced what you did, they unexplainably barf on reasonable print jobs. In our environment we have up to 25 people dumping print jobs to the printer. Every so often someone sends a 100 page whopper. Invariably the printer runs out of paper. Meanwhile print jobs are getting backed up in memory. This is the most probable time for an error. I don't know if there's memory segmentation, but there may not be. The other thing about your printer review is that it does not address the consumables, which in the end cost more than the printer. I would think that the ink jet would be the most expensive, but I may be wrong.

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