Color lasers: Still the best

Yes! If you want to get top photo quality, an inkjet printer is the best solution. But the cost is high. To reduce it, look at the color laser solution. Most entry-level printers are sold under 300$ and the operating costs are tremendously lower than those of an inkjet (toners are more expensive than liquid ink cartridges, but they routinely print several thousand pages). Moreover, they are FAST (several pages per minute instead of several minutes per page).

However, the market is maturing a lot and new models are arriving. The proof? Look at the latest color laser printers comparison from Tom’s Hardware and check the list of tested printers.

  • HP Color LaserJet 2600n (already tested in November 2005 here)
  • HP Color LaserJet 3600
  • Magicolor 5430DL
  • Lexmark C522n

It is nice to see that one-pass color laser printers become more and more affordable leading to even faster (more silent) printers than was available a year ago.

The conclusion has nothing new for the observer: Lexmark is disappointing, Minolta is bulky (despite or because it is very complete), old HP 2600n has printing cost too high for a large use. The newest HP Color LaserJet 3600 printer is -not surprisingly- the best offer: An excellent compromise like HP has always been providing for blak and white laser printers.

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