Phaser 740's easy setup earns points with sysadmins

Some of Tektronix’s earlier entries had their minor components packed inside a bag
in a box inside another box. The Phaser 560 gave some hints that the unwieldy setup
process was being streamlined. And in fact, all the Phaser 740’s components came
inside one huge, nicely packed box and went together fairly quickly.

Tektronix has discovered that easy setup, maintenance and network installation win
network administrators’ loyalty.

Getting the Phaser 740 onto the GCN Lab’s Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 network was
almost as easy as it was for Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers.

Installing drivers on the clients was a different matter. I never could figure out why,
but the quirky client driver sometimes said the printer was not present on the network
when it was. The quirk usually surfaced when the printer was in power-saving standby mode.
Once it woke up, print jobs went straight through.

Output showed good, strong colors with an almost indiscernible dot pattern. The
automatic color setting in the printer driver generally delivered the most accurate job;
the vivid setting gave slightly brighter colors.

The 1,200- by 1,200-dot-per-inch resolution looked sharp in monochrome, although the
black-and-white setting tended to get too dark. In color, blends looked almost as smooth
as those from high-quality color ink-jet printers, which still surpass color laser
quality. But color lasers are fast approaching the vibrant hues and smooth transitions of
liquid inks.

The Phaser 740 comes in several configurations. A monochrome 740L model is less than
$2,000 and can be upgraded later to full color.

My test unit, an extended configuration with duplex printing capability and an external
hard drive, was about $4,000.

All versions include an Ethernet adapter.

Add to the price equation the convenience of network printing and laser reliability,
and the Phaser 740 just might make the cut for agency networks.  

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