The lowdown on high-speed network-ready monochrome laser printer

What is it? A high-speed network-ready monochrome laser printer should print at least 30 pages per minute or higher and come with a 10/100-Mbps Ethernet card or other interface. It should have a fairly fast RISC processor, upgradeable RAM, 600- by 600-dpi resolution and drivers for multiple operating systems. Automatic duplexing and versatile paper handling options are necessary, and multifunction scan, copy and fax options are useful.

Why choose monochrome over color? Monochrome lasers are faster and less expensive than color lasers. Most of the government requirements involve black-and-white text printing on 8.5- by 11-inch paper, so you'll save money with one or two sturdy lasers rather than a dozen or more less-expensive desktop lasers. Spot color can be added to compound text documents with relatively low-cost color ink-jets.

What do monochrome lasers do best? Monochrome lasers are best at fast text printing with crisp resolution.

Must-know info? You might be surprised that many familiar names in the printing industry aren't represented here. Many of them make fast desktop printers designed for personal, not workgroup or departmental, use. Don't be conned into believing that a fast desktop monochrome laser can stand up to the rigors of daily performance requirements in the thousands of pages. A good networkable printer with solid specs will likely pay off in the long run.

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