is this a good laser printer for type proofing?

Evie's picture

Hi everyone,

i can buy a "Xerox Phaser 6140" for around 200$ i was wondering if this is a good laser printer for type proofing and is xerox a good brand or should i look for something else?

when looking at the specs it says: 600 x 600 x 4 dpi. I'm a bit confused here, what does the "x4" mean...does this mean 2400 x 2400. Or is this more of a marketing gimmick?

I'm on a really tight budget around 200$ max

thank you!

Arno Enslin's picture

You probably don’t speak German, but nevertheless I always recommend the German printer testing site Druckerchannel. Have a look at the best of list and the fotos, which they have taken from the letters with the help of a microscope, here for example. (I am very happy with my Samsung ML-3051.)

Evie's picture

Thank you for replying Arno, unfortinatly i don't speak German but the site sure looks very interesting.

Like mentioned i'm on a really low budget so i don't expect to get the best printer out there. Reason i'm asking about the Phaser 6140 is because i can get one brand new out of the box for 150 Euro's (seller lowered his price)its priced at around 350Euro's in the store.

Only thing is i'm a bit worried about the 600x600x4. Some info on whether to stay away or buy this printer would be of great help...

JamesM's picture

I haven't tried that particular model, but I've used a more expensive Xerox Phaser model that did a nice job. If you Google "Xerox Phaser 6140 review" you'll find quite a few reviews.

blank's picture

The 6140 is a 600 DPI printer with true Postscript. Because it's a Xerox it should hold up well. Some people will complain that 600 DPI just isn't enough for proofing type, but I know some very good type designers who do just fine with archaic 600 DPI units, so don't worry about it.

gargoyle's picture

"x4" means 4-bit shading for every dot, or 16 shades ranging from white to full opacity. Sounds similar in concept to anti-aliasing on the screen.

Evie's picture

thank you all for replying...

i think i'm going to buy it, its a good deal i guess for a brand new laser printer, also i'm still a student so if 600DPI is enough for good type designers, its good enough for me.

the cartridges appear to be quite expensive tho, around 100Euro's.

i never owned a laser printer, but i do remember that when my ink cartridges on my inktjet printer ran out and i let it sit there unused for like 1 month my printer never worked the same again after putting in a new ink cartridge, according to the seller it was because the ink dried up or something i can't remember. Is this the same case with a laser jet you need to replace the empty cartridge as soon as possible for the printer to keep its crisp printing. Reason I'm asking is because as a student i don't always have a 100 Euro's to spare.

again thank you all for helping me in my decision

cuttlefish's picture

Short answer: Laser printers are more economical to operate than inkjet printers in the long run.

Longer answer:
In general, even the smallest laser printer toner cartridges last much longer than the ink tanks in desktop inkjet printers. For a single user, one toner cartridge can easily last over a year, though using it for type design proofing might be more intense. They won't gum up when left unused the way idle inkjets are prone to do, but there are some internal parts that have to be maintained, and under certain circumstances replaced, like the imaging drum. Those aren't cheap, but they're less than the whole printer. Just be sure to read the operator's manual thoroughly. A good laser printer, properly maintained, can provide reliable service for about a decade, sometimes more.

blank's picture

The lifespan of an inkjet cartridge is measured in pages. The lifespan of a laser cartridge is measured in thousands of pages. And they don't streak, clog, etc. I actually used a color laser printer for most of my drafts in art school and saved a fortune over kids who used inkjets.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

It IS common practice of printer manufacturers to initially load up printers with cartridges that contain far less toner (or ink, in the case of inkjets) than the regular ones you need to buy after the first ones run out. In some countries it is mandatory to point this out in the sales/promo material (I have seen instances where the difference was three or four times). You should look into that.

(Isn’t it wonderful that for some models, in combination with promotions/rebates buying a new printer is cheaper than buying a full set of ink/toner — and that the manufacturers have ‘corrected’ this anomaly by reducing the load of the first run cartridges? That’s capitalism in optima forma!)

dezcom's picture

This is why old Kodak cameras were cheaper than a roll of film :-)

quadibloc's picture

I know that one factor that decided my purchase of a laser printer was that the cartridge with the toner was separate from the one with the selenium drum, so I did not have to waste a valuable drum every time I added more toner.

Consumables cost is worth paying attention to.

Arno Enslin's picture

Except from the text printing quality, there are two things, which are important with regard to the prints of text in my opinion:

1. The duplex precision, because I think duplex is important for real proofing.
2. The mechanical resistance of the toner.

Both is poor in case of my Samsung. I cannot fold the paper after the print without damaging the toner. It may sound freaky, but I am using an electric iron for reinforcing the toner in the edge of the folded paper (naturally only on the unprinted back!). Unfortunately the printer test magazines (online and printed) are very rare. The focus is often on the speed or other things, which are totally unimportant in my opinion. If the printer prints excellent, I would be even willing to wait twenty seconds per page. But I don’t need a printer, that prints 30 pages per minute or more. I have heard, that Lexmark is very good with regard to the mechanical resistance of the toner (document-quality). Nevertheless I am happy with my Samsung.

If anyone knows magazines, that thoroughly test laser printers, I am very interested.

By the way, Druckerchannel also has tested a cheaper Samsung B/W laser printer. And its text prints look better than the prints of my Samsung on the fotos, that are taken with the help of the microscope. For some of you it may sound abstract, to proof the quality with a microscope, but I think only in this way you can check, how big the equivalence of printed letter and the letter on screen is. If the aim is, to reproduce a letter in print as close to the original outline as possible, the microscope is very useful in my opinion. Unfortunately I only know Druckerchannel, that uses a microscope for the tests.

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