GCN Lab Review | Battleship gray no more

The GCN Lab finds that high-end color printing is ready for agencies of any size

If there's one thing our latest foray into color workgroup printers taught us, it's that you can overpay for decent output'but you shouldn't. Any gulf between high-volume color printing and, let's say, small workgroup printing has started to disappear.

What's more, just when we weren't sure color quality could get better, it has. You know those times when you can tell a color photo was printed on plain office paper? These day it's harder to distinguish between photo-quality printouts and photos fired off by the printer down the hall.

We invited printer manufacturers to send us color printers suited to workgroups of 20 to 50 people. Six participated, including Hewlett-Packard, Kyocera, Lexmark, Oki Data, Sharp and Xerox.

If anything, Sharp Electronics overshot the mark, sending in a 1-GHz, 1GB behemoth that cost nearly $14,000. The thing is, it did no better (and in some cases did worse) than color printers a fraction of its price.

In the end, we were blown away by the $1,799 Xerox Phaser 6350DP. Not only was it the most affordable printer we tested, it was by far the fastest. Not just the fastest in this review, but the fastest ever in the GCN Lab.

And we don't discount innovation. Although it was a bit pricier, we liked some of the features in the Lexmark C920n, including a front-side USB port for plugging in a key drive and printing without a computer.

It also has built-in security features to ensure only authorized individuals can pick up sensitive printouts.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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