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The Best Laser Printers for a Printing/Graphic Production Business.  Doing research into a purchase and would like some Expert input.

Posted on 2005-04-18
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Hey everyone.  What better place to begin my research into a new laser printer than the EE?

I've been assigned to do some research into laser printers for the company I work for.  Currently we have a Xante Accel-A-Writer 3G which is relatively ancient and has started to break.  We're looking for something that will have the speed of the Xante but is more updated and generally more reliable.  The manual feed tray for the Xante broke within a few weeks of using it. Because of this experience and the current issues we're having with this printer we are a bit reluctant to purchase another Xante product.  The network the printers run on is a 10/100mb ethernet based network with both Macs and PCs utilizing the TCP/IP interface.

We normally use this printer to print out black and white proofs to give to clients.  We also will do ghetto numbering jobs on it using data merges and things of that nature.  Basically, this printer is to be the new B/W workhorse for the prepress department.  I've posted this question here because I believe you all could have some great info to add regarding your experience with various printers.  Things I suppose we'd be looking for are a manual feed tray, speed, and a high DPI that can print halftones good. We ARE a printing company after all.

I can't even begin to think about where to look - there are so many printers out there to choose from.  The first batch I'm going to look through are products that are made by HP.  However, I've heard of nightmares regarding HP printers working with Mac computers, so that is always in the back of my mind.

This question is urgent because the Xante actually bit the dust today. I'm sure it can be fixed, but it's had a good life and should be replaced! We move a lot of work through our office for humongous pharmaceutical companies, etc. etc. etc., so of course, downtime is BAD!
Price is really no object, but probably keeping the price under 2000 dollars would be a good idea.  I'm open to all suggestions!

The person who suggests the printer we actually buy gets the points!

Thanks in advance to all of you who may respond to this question - all your input is greatly appreciated!  This is a great resource!
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Question by:tgebauer
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Watzman earned 1000 total points
ID: 13812254

With the heavy duty cycle and need for reliability, I'd stick with HP or Lexmark.  There are other brands, but I don't think that they would be right for your type of environement, not because of the product, but because of the support issues.  From your description, you probably want a high speed (20 to 40 ppm) model that is network connected (Ethernet) and has internal PostScript support as well as PCL.

Rather than suggest a specific model, I'd take a very good look at the PC Magazine (Ziff-Davis, ZDNet) printer reviews that they do every fall (nominally in November), they do rate products in this class and you can read detailed reviews of their findings.  Another publication that might be of interest is "The Hard Copy Observer".  It's an expensive publication usually only bought by insiders in the printer industry, but their reviews are superb and it may be worth the cost to get a subscription, or they may sell you just the reports that you need.  It's published by Lyra Research at www.lyra.com  (This isn't cheap, a full subscription is $600 per year, but it's printer industry "inside" information, and if printers really matter to you or your business, it' may well be worth it).

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by:WillHudson
WillHudson earned 1000 total points
ID: 13813220
I would definately go with a HP. All our printer's here (over 200) are HP's and they very rarely go wrong. If in the rare instance they do, HP are very quick and reliable about getting it fixed.

You didn't mention what kind of quantity you are talking - but a Laserjet 4350 is capable of 53 ppm, and up to 250,000 pages per month.

If i was you, i would go to the following link, and do "check to compare" on the following: 9000 Series, 8000 Series, 5000 Series, 4000 Series. That way you get an overview of what each of them is capable of, helping you choose for yourself which is best to suit your needs:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en/sm/WF02a/5043-5343-5347.html

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