Fast letter-size printers feed the need for speed
Dell, Toshiba monochrome printers match up well; management, add-on extras make the differenceFollow @infoworld
Anyone working in today’s imaginary “paperless” office surely recognizes that we still need to print -- and the faster the better. I recently reviewed three high-speed monochrome laser printers -- from HP, Lexmark, and Xerox -- all designed to print on oversize paper. But many offices that need fast printing can get by with standard letter- or legal-size paper, which means a big savings on purchase cost.
So for this test, I recruited the Dell Laser Printer 5310n and Toshiba e-Studio 500P, letter/legal-size printers that have the same 50-ppm rating as the three oversize machines, and put them through the same battery of tests.
Dell Laser Printer 5310n
The 5310n comes in Dell’s trademark black and silver-gray shell. It’s small enough and light enough (at about 50 pounds) that I could easily unpack and deploy the printer myself. Deep, sturdy hand grips near the base help, too.
The 5310n follows a basic front-loader design. A door in the belly drops down and extends into a reasonably sturdy auxiliary feed; a flap above the auxiliary tray folds up to expose the slot where the combination toner drum/imaging unit slides easily in or out; and below the printer’s belly is the main paper tray.
The interior of the 5310n’s main tray has sloped walls that break up adhesions in a fresh ream but make adding and removing paper awkward. The design doesn’t include a rear exit or straight-feed paper path.
Dell’s LCD control panel sits almost vertically and might be hard for very tall people to see. A set of buttons arranged in a circle navigate you through the menus; in the center of the circle is the equivalent of a Return or OK button. Relatively basic menus provide a few reports, some print settings that the driver mostly overrides, and controls for a few network settings.
You’ll probably manage the printer from Dell’s embedded Web server, which offers much richer security and configuration options, along with the option to lock control-panel menus.
The installation routine is very clear. The installer asks if you want to install on the system you’re using or remotely on another server. Then, it automatically discovers the printers over the network, installs PostScript and PCL drivers in one step (all performance scores described in this article are for PostScript), and always displays a description of its actions.
Dell’s 5310n prints one copy of a simple 10-page text document at 28.3 ppm, and 10 copies of the same document at 46.5 ppm, almost tying the Toshiba (see “Fast Monochrome Lasers,” page 40) It prints 10 copies of a complex two-page Excel file at 37 ppm, just 0.6 ppm
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