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2/22/2011
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Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
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Xerox Offers Mid-Range SMB Color Toner Printers

High-price is justified by high print quality, says Xerox. The jury remains out on that, but the refill toner price is, as usual, no bargain.

High-price is justified by high print quality, says Xerox. The jury remains out on that, but the refill toner price is, as usual, no bargain."Most small businesses want to grow their business by getting more customers, and we can help by providing great print quality for their marketing material," Shell Haffner, Xerox' desktop products marketing manager, explained to this blogger.

So they have come out with three units offering 600x600x4 resolution, using chemically grown toner. Most SMB laser printers offer at least 600x600, but the 600x600x4 resolution is something usually seen only higher up in the market, and means the machine has some control over the shading of each dot, he explained. (Otherwise, at the low end, a dot is just a speck of primary color.)

The chemically grown toner is congealed in a suspension rather than being physically ground and mashed, Haffner indicated. The particles can be finer and more uniform, covering more pages and requiring less heat to fix, he added.

The three new units are the WorkCentre 6505 and the Phaser 6500, and the desktop Phaser 6010.

The WorkCentre 6505 is a multi-function unit for $649, printing 24 ppm in both color and black-and-white modes. (The speed rating is not ISO.) It has both USB and Ethernet interfaces, but no mention of Wi-Fi (which is just as well, since your office router probably has a wireless port.)

The Phaser 6500 is the same thing without the scanner, costing $399.

The Phaser 6010 is a desktop unit (15.5x12x9.2 inches) with USB and Ethernet I/O, costing $299. The output speed is 12 ppm in color mode and 15 ppm in black-and-white mode. It uses an LED rather than a laser engine. (That's the trend for desktop units, since LED technology is more compact.)

The 6500 and 6505 use the same replacement toner cartridges, which can be high capacity or regular capacity. The high capacity ones are rated at 3,000 pages for black, costing $105.99, or 3.5 cents per page. The non-black cartridges are rated at 2,500 pages and cost $109.99 each, or 4.4 cents per page per color. For all four colors, that's 16.7 cents per page.

The non-black colors also come in a standard capacity cartridge rated at 1,000 pages and costing $65 each. That's 6.5 cents per page per color, or 23 cents per page for all four colors.

For the Phaser 6010, the black replacement cartridge is rated at 2,000 pages and costs $69.99, or 3.5 cents per page. The three non-black cartridges cost $59.99 each and are rated at 1,000 pages each, putting the price at 6 cents per page per color, or 21.5 cents per page for all four colors. (The starter cartridges that come with the unit are rated at 500 pages.)

In a world where you can get color laser MFPs for $500, the prices of these new Xerox units are a little steep. Whether the price is justified by the 600x600x4 print resolution can only be explored if and when some physical output is available. If that happens, you'll hear about it.

But the toner refill pricing is hardly a breakthrough. Like most vendors in the SMB printer market, Xerox remains loyal to the razor and blade marketing model, where you sell cheap razors and then make your profit off the disposable blades. But the razor analogy is flawed, since, in this setting, growing a beard isn't an option.

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