Help me choose a color laser printer.
July 24, 2006 12:36 AM   Subscribe

Should I buy (a) an Epson C1100 (b) a Fuji Xerox DPC525A (c) some other low-end color laser printer (d) a not-so-low-end color laser printer?

My tax refund is about to come back, and I'm sick of unclogging my infrequently used inkjet printer (I bought an Epson Stylus C63 before I knew better).

I want a color-capable printer that will Just Work every time I send it a print job, even if I have not done so for a month and a half. I don't want to pay outrageous amounts per page for "genuine" ink, and I don't want to spend ridiculous amounts of time dealing with the messy consequences of using the shit-grade "compatible" ink du jour; in fact I'm sick up and fed of the whole inkjet printer experience, and ready to buy a laser.

I can get the Epson C1100 for AU$379, or the Fuji Xerox DPC525A for AU$395. Does the hive mind have any experience with either of these machines? What are they like for running costs and reliability? Or should I run screaming away from both, and spend more to get less pain?
posted by flabdablet to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Get an HP printer. I had a Lexmark which was a piece of crap. After seeing a co-worker's personal HP, I switched. I love it. I've had it for over a year with no problems whatsoever.
posted by bim at 4:15 AM on July 24, 2006

Response by poster: What model HP do you have, bim?

I've seen the HP Laserjet 1320 and Laserjet 1320N monochrome laser printers used in a couple of schools, and they seem to be quite robust little printers with good paper handling (love that duplexer) for not much money. New toner cartridges are a bit pricey though, and my local refiller bloke reckons their imaging drums are very much made down to a price and don't survive many cartridge refills.

My main reason for not wanting to use an HP printer is their Windows driver and installer software, which are truly the most godawful piles of shite I have ever had the misfortune to try to manage (LaserJet and DeskJet both). Were it not for that, HP would definitely be on my shortlist.
posted by flabdablet at 4:56 AM on July 24, 2006

I use an OKI 5250N and it's fantastic: fast, great colour reproduction and no 'banding' which is common on cheaper lasers. Cost me about £330. Highly recommended.
posted by blag at 5:32 AM on July 24, 2006

It's not a laser. It's an HP photosmart 7755 which. I got for about $110 to $125 as they were changing models (I bought it off the HP site at the recommendation of a computer friend). Check their website as they always seem to have deals.

The paper NEVER comes out crooked. It makes great color photos as well as great color output in general. I've used it with mapping software to get nice clear maps. You can also choose the quality of the copy you want, so as to not waste ink. I usually just use a draft copy for everyday use.

And everybody that I work with seems to have an HP printer. I'm sold on these babies. No muss, no fuss. :)
posted by bim at 5:47 AM on July 24, 2006

Oh, I should mention that I'm in the U.S., in case that affects anyhting.
posted by bim at 5:47 AM on July 24, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, bim, but I really have had it up to here with inkjets, and am not going to buy another one.

If anybody else is about to tell me about a great inkjet: please don't bother. This inquiry is about color laser printers.

blag, thanks for the Oki recommendation. £330 is about AU$800, which is more than I can really justify spending on something I can't see getting heavy use.

Has anybody had banding issues with either of the two printers I'm currently considering (Epson C1100, Xerox DPC525A)?
posted by flabdablet at 6:16 AM on July 24, 2006

Totally can relate to being fed up with inkjets.
I have a C1100, and I'm very happy with it. For $379, I'd say go for it. I paid about $750 for mine a bit over a year agoin May 2005, getting a free (yeah, right) CX3500 (multi-function thing) with it.
Lovely prints. I have had to get it repaired (under warranty) when the toner barrell thingy got misaligned, but that was a fairly smooth operation, even tho I'd lost my receipt.
I am about to call some guy I met at a swap meet to get a quote on toners, he reckons he can beat any of the usual retailers. Toner isn't cheap, but the one's that came with the machine lasted me for about 8 months & i'm still using the original yellow.
Overall, it's a nice piece of equipment and has given me less trouble than any other printer I've owned.
I just moved house, and it's horrendously heavy, weighing in at about 28 kilos.
posted by goshling at 7:38 AM on July 24, 2006

I've had good results from the Fuji Xerox Solid Ink printers. The build quality is pretty good, but the are more expensive. Couple of things I'd check though:
1. your price. My old supplier has the 525a listed at AUD$635. That's a big difference to what you quoted. They don't have any in stock, so my price might be very old.
2. check to see if the printer has a page counting module. The solid ink models do, so once you hit n pages, you are up for a new maintenance kit. That is a compulsory hidden expense.
posted by dantodd at 7:45 AM on July 24, 2006

Note that 4 toner cartridges for *any* low-end color laser are guaranteed to cost more than the printer did -- check your per-page cost *very* carefully.

That said, yeah; they're *much* prettier than they used to be, and by and large, they Just Work.
posted by baylink at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2006

Just got my toner quote - $110 for black, $168 for colour. I'm told each cartridge does 4000 pages.
posted by goshling at 10:12 PM on July 24, 2006

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