GCN Lab Review | Sharp AR-C360P

Pros: Excellent paper handling, good status display

Cons: Extremely slow graphics printing,expensive
Price: $13,995

Print speed: C

Color accuracy: A+

Features: A

Value: B-

When the Sharp AR-C360P arrived at the GCN Lab, the size of the unit made us think perhaps it was a higher class of printer than we wanted to review.

The $13,995 price tag would also be difficult to justify for most 20- to 30-person workgroups. But we went forward anyway, only to find that the system wasn't able to live up to its sticker price. We'd recommend one of the far-cheaper printers in this review regardless of you environment.

That said, the AR-C360P is obviously designed for color.

In our tests, color accuracy was nearly perfect. Along with the Lexmark printer, it was able to render individual leaves in a forest fire photo where most printers washed out the fine details. It also comes with great paper handling abilities in the form of a little hammer-like guide that pushes papers into place before dropping them into a neat pile in the print tray.

But with a 1-GHz processor and 1GB of onboard memory standard, we expected a real stallion in print times. We ended up with a plow horse.

Printing a single page of text to check the system's first-page-out time took over a minute. We thought perhaps the printer had gone into sleep mode and ran the same test several times to be sure of the results.

The system speeds up when it actually starts printing pages, but doesn't get as fast as other systems we tested. The Sharp was able to finish our 30-page text document in one minute and 58 seconds. That was the second slowest time in the review, but impressive when you consider more than a minute of that time, the printer sat idle just thinking about printing.

In color printing, the AR-C360P was even worse. Our 30-page graphics document took five minutes and 18 seconds to finally spit out, the slowest in the review by almost two minutes.

Sure, the images were almost perfectly color-matched, but you have to wait a long time to see it. If you pay more than $13,000 for a printer, the last thing you want to do is wait in line.

Sharp Electronics Corp., Mahwah, N.J., (800) 237-4277, www.sharpusa.com.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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