Xerox Phaser 6600/DN review

Pros

  • Impressive text and graphics quality
  • Above par photos
  • Ample paper handling for a small office
  • Onsite service with the base warranty

Cons

  • Print speed is a touch slow

Aimed at small offices or workgroups with heavy duty print needs, the Xerox Phaser 6600/DN offers capable paper handling as one of its best features. Given that it also boasts on par or better output quality across the board, including photos, and the 6600/DN is a particularly good fit if you need a colour laser to print a lot of pages, and you also need the output to look good.

Colour lasers in this price range have stiff competition in the form of the HP Officejet Pro X551dw Printer, a laser-class inkjet. But lasers in general, and the 6600/DN in particular, still have an edge on colour quality compared with the X551dw. They also have the advantage of there being no way that the output can smudge or smear if it gets wet. Depending on your needs and tastes, these two differences alone may make a laser the better pick.

The 6600/DN also offers somewhat better paper handling than the X551dw, with a 550-sheet drawer, 150-sheet multipurpose tray, and duplexer (for two-sided printing) as standard. The 550-sheet drawer is a particularly nice touch, since it lets you refill the drawer with an entire ream of paper even before it's fully empty. And if you require still more capacity, you can add a second 550-sheet drawer for a total 1,250 sheets. Not so incidentally, if you don't need duplexing, Xerox also sells the Phaser 6600/N, an identical version of this printer with everything except the duplexer.

Setup and speed

As you might expect simply from the paper capacity, the 6600/DN is too big to comfortably share a desk with, at 430 x 488 x 384mm (WxDxH). It's also heavy enough, at 25kg, that most people would consider moving it into place a two person job. Once you find a spot for it, however, setup is simple and absolutely typical for a colour laser. For my tests, I connected it to a wired network and installed the driver on a system running Windows Vista.

Xerox rates the printer at 36 pages per minute (ppm) for both colour and monochrome in simplex (one sided) mode. You should see that speed or close to it when printing text files with little or no formatting. However, the printer installs to print in duplex mode by default, which drops the rating to 24 ppm. And because we run our business applications suite with the default settings as shipped, our official test is for the duplex setting and slower speed. Beyond that, as with virtually all printers, the 6600/DN is much slower than its top speed on our tests, because we include photos and graphics that take time to process.

On our business applications suite (timed with QualityLogic's hardware and software), I clocked the printer at an effective 4.6 ppm. I also ran an unofficial test in simplex mode and got essentially the same speed. In either case, the speed falls in a tolerable range, but is a little slow for the price. The HP Officejet Pro X551dw, for example, came in at 9.2 ppm on that particular test, and the Brother HL-4570CDW managed 6.8 ppm. In addition, the 6600/DN was unusually slow for a laser when it came to photos, averaging 48 seconds for a 4 x 6.

Output quality

Fortunately, this printer’s output quality largely makes up for any points that it loses on speed. Text and graphics are both dead on par for a colour laser. That makes the text easily good enough for any business need, and arguably good enough for moderately serious desktop publishing applications, depending on how critical an eye you have. The graphics, similarly, are easily good enough for any business use up to and including good quality PowerPoint hand-outs. Most people would also consider them good enough for marketing materials like one page hand-outs or mailers.

Photos were above par quality, and just short of consistently true photo quality. More than half of the photos in our test suite were high enough quality so if you mounted them in a frame behind glass, they'd pass for the level of quality you'd expect from typical store prints. Outside of a frame, only the fact that they're printed on plain paper gives them away. However, other photos could only pass for photo quality at a quick glance from a distance. Overall, most people would consider the photos, along with the graphics, as good enough for printing your own marketing materials.

Verdict

The Xerox Phaser 6600/DN's strongest points are clearly its paper handling and output quality. The one other sweetener that demands a mention is that Xerox includes one year of onsite service in the base warranty. If you want a speed demon, you'll need to look elsewhere, but if you don't mind the slower speed, the Xerox Phaser 6600/DN can be an excellent fit for a small office or workgroup that needs a heavy duty workhorse which provides high quality output.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

Xerox Phaser 6600/DN

Printer Category

Laser

Direct Printing from Cameras

No

Print Duplexing

Automatic

Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)

36 ppm

Type

Printer Only

Rated Speed at Default Settings (Colour)

36 ppm

Colour or Monochrome

1-pass colour

Connection Type

USB, Ethernet