Xerox Phaser 6280

The Xerox Phaser 6280 produces vibrant colors and accurate images — if you have the time to wait around for them to print

Pros: Beautiful color printing, captures even fine image details
Cons: Very slow graphical print speeds, line art comes out a touch red
Color Accuracy: A+
Color Speed: C-
B&W Speed: A
Features: B
Value: A-
Price: $549

In our initial tests, it looked like Xerox was cruising for another roundup review win. Although the Phaser 6280 was initially impressive, it failed to go the distance — at least quickly.

Looking at individual prints from the Phaser 6280, we could tell that the printer was designed for graphical excellence. In test after test, it was able to reproduce accurate colors and perfectly rendered images. The one slight problem we detected was with images over graphics. The Phaser produced that telltale halo effect that sometimes happens if a printer doesn’t do it quite right. But this was a minor flaw in an otherwise stellar color performance.

Products in this review:

When color matches quality and price
Brother HL-4070CDW
Epson B 500DN
Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CP3525x
Lexmark C734dn
Panasonic KX MC6040

But then when we tried to print the color images all at once in the form of our 30-page graphical test document, the Phaser 6280 stumbled badly.

It started printing the pages OK — and quickly. But when it got to a complex image of a field of alarm clocks, it choked, even sending back an error message to our test computer saying that it couldn’t continue. Given that this was the eighth page of a 30-page document, we were worried that the Phaser 6280 wouldn’t even finish. We fished around the status screens of the printer and discovered that the error message was “10 error Offending Command: image. Stack: dictionary.” Basically, the Phaser 6280 had run out of memory trying to process the large file.

However, we discovered something funny. If we ignored the error message and just let the printer keep going, it would finish the document, after brooding over the alarm clocks for about a minute. Given that the clocks are in the test document three times, you can imagine what this did to the Phaser’s time. It finally finished the 30 pages in a painful 5 minutes, 33 seconds. That time would have been about average for printers we tested in the lab more than 10 years ago. It’s worth noting that no other printer in the roundup had trouble with the test document. Even the slower inkjet printer completed the test in less than two minutes.

Thankfully, the Phaser 6280 did much better with text printing, finishing in 1 minute, 6 seconds, which was tied for the fastest time.

The low price and high-quality output of the Phaser 6280 means you shouldn’t completely rule it out, but if you are printing any complex images with it, you should definitely spring for the extra memory.

Xerox, 800-275-9376, www.xerox.com/office

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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