The Oki Data C9500dxn may bulge with a 10GB hard drive and 320MB of RAM, but the leaner Xerox Phaser 7300DN proves meaner. Both its text and color printing speeds outstripped those of the fuller-featured machine, and the pages the 7300DN produced looked as good. Letters stayed legible down to small font sizes. Color gradations in PowerPoint slides progressed smoothly. Color photos we printed looked overly light, however, and exhibited a little moiré.
Although the Oki Data C9500dxn and the Phaser 7300DN share the same design, the Xerox version is easier to use, thanks to Xerox having placed its own, intuitively designed control panel on the front. And only HP and Lexmark can hold a candle to Xerox's CentreWare management tools.
The Phaser 7300DN's only real competition is the other midpriced color printer in this roundup, the HP Color LaserJet 5500n. The HP rates a shade higher overall. It has an edge in duty cycle and purchase price, but its color performance put it over the top. It handled our most difficult images with greater aplomb, and it printed color images nearly one page per minute faster overall. But at what cost? Based on our calculations, the Phaser 7300DN will exact about $1,100 less in consumables over the first 100,000 pages than the Color LaserJet 5500n.
Xerox Phaser 7750DN
No other printer in our roundup excels in as many areas as Xerox's Phaser 7750DN. This machine is full-featured and fast, with great-looking output and economical consumables. Targeted at graphics professionals, it would be overkill for a low-volume workgroup, or an office whose color needs consist primarily of presentation slides. But if you want the state of the art in office printing, this is it.
The Phaser 7750DN prints quickly -- it's the fastest color printer we tested -- and capably. The text quality of the Phaser 7750DN looked a hair crisper and more refined than any other printer's in the roundup. Although it struggled with a challenging gray-scale photo, presentation slides and a full-color photo looked smooth and realistic. Only HP's two printers rated higher in print quality.
This printer may be big and heavy, but it also bristles with features. Its main input tray accommodates U.S. paper sizes up to tabloid (11 by 17 inches) as well as custom sizes. Duplexing is standard. The Phaser 7750DN's maximum paper capacity is this highest among the printers we tested. It also has a whopping 384MB of RAM.
Everyone knows it's cheaper to buy in bulk, and the Phaser 7750DN's high-yield consumables are a case in point. Over time, you'll spend thousands of dollars less for toner and other supplies compared to most other printers we tested, save for the superfrugal Kyocera FS-C5016N.
The Phaser 7750DN also excels in ease of use. The printed and CD-based documentation were thorough, well written, and supplemented with instructional videos. Plain-English status messages displayed on the printer's control panel and in the software. The software -- Xerox's suite of CentreWare applications -- offers a multitude of ways to monitor and manage the machine.
You get what you pay for with the Phaser 7750DN: the best color laser we've seen. It outshines the same-priced HP Color LaserJet 9500n in nearly every respect. HP's Color LaserJet 5500n is your next-best bet for all-around high quality at a much cheaper price, but beware its high cost of consumables.
The Options Spectrum