Phaser 850 prints to perfection with solid ink on most media

Phaser 850 prints to perfection with solid ink on most media

By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

Each of the eight or so Tektronix Phaser printers I've reviewed over the years has been easier to use than its predecessor.

Tektronix Inc., whose color printing division is now owned by Xerox Corp., continues to simplify the time-consuming processes of getting the printer up on a network and loading the drivers.

The Phaser 850's solid-ink process is more than good enough to convert even users of standard laser and liquid-ink printers.

Crayonlike blocks of wax that fit inside the Phaser 850's top cover melt and mix on the paper in a layer so thin there's no longer any worry of a Phaser-printed page sticking in an automatic copier feed. But the layer is thick enough that colors look radiant on paper as well as transparency media.

I have always preferred solid ink for transparencies. The Phaser's overheads are far more brilliant than those from any liquid-ink or laser device. It even outdoes them for paper printing.

It has a way to go to produce photo-quality output, but its high-resolution images look much better than those from most color lasers.

Output is fast'up to 14 pages per minute. Almost as soon as you click Print on a PC, the Phaser 850 starts printing.

Box Score      

Tektronix Phaser 850DP

Solid-wax network color printer

Xerox Corp.; Wilsonville, Ore.;

tel. 800-853-6100

Price: $3,377 GSA

+ Easy network setup

+ Excellent output quality

+ Solid overall performance

Thanks partly to a new 100-Mbps network interface, the Phaser 850 intelligently figures out when your workday begins. Most network printers nowadays power down to a minimum energy state when inactive. If you need a quick printout for a 9 a.m. meeting, you'll ordinarily wait about 10 minutes for the printer to warm up.

The Phaser 850's internal timer, however, notices when you start printing each morning and warms itself up before your usual first print request.

Putting the Phaser 850 onto the GCN Lab network was incredibly simple. I connected it and fed its CD-ROM into the server. Pretty much everything was automatic. The printer found its network address, and the software found the printer and installed the appropriate drivers.

I examined the DP, or duplex, version of the Phaser 850, which does two-sided printing. It has 64M of RAM and can print up to 1,200 dot-per-inch resolution.

The N version comes with 32M and can print up to 800 dpi. The DX version has 128M, prints 1,200 dpi and allows duplexing.

It incorporates a 6G internal hard drive and an extra 500-sheet media tray.


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