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I'm quite fond of Epson laser printers, for me they represent good quality and speed at phenomenally low prices. My first Epson laser printer was the EPL 5700L, but things have moved on since then. That was a bog standard, 8 pages per minute printer, but it didn't stop me being impressed, you can read my earlier review on this printer in my archive. But I knew my EPL 5700 wasn't going to last forever, and when I found out it needed its toner replacing which would cost £50, I thought I'd jump in and buy a new one (I was in a spending mood!) When Looking at printers I think theres a few things to bear in mind, so I present to you...
**DALES SEVEN WONDERS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRINTER**
1) The company 2) The Cost 3) The Quality 4) The Speed 5) Toner life and cost of consumables 6) Design 7) Reliability and Usage
So first things first, why Epson?
----------------- Why Epson? -----------------
Epson for me represent a market leader in the printing industry, they compete with companies such as HP, Canon and Lexmark. But what I like about Epson inparticular is that they are specialists in their field, instead of companies like HP which have diversified to some extent and now make computers, Epson have stuck to what they're good at, making printers and scanners and other imaging products. Epson have a really good reputation and all of my epson printers have been reliable, I've never had any troubles with them. But its not only the laser printers I'm impressed with, in terms of inkjet printers the printing quality is excellent and the printers themselves are relatively cheap, as are the cartridges, as opposed to HP and Lexmark which give you a new print head with each catridges giving them the excuse to smack another £10 on the price of an ink catridge.
------- Cost -------
Based on its specification, I think this printer is an absolute bargain! I purchased it for £149.99 which I thought was good, however Ciaos minimum price is £83.88 which is an extremely low price for a printer of this standard. At one time, laser printers were extremely expensive, In the 1980s we're talking £500 for a black and white one and into the thousands for a colour one, now however prices are less than £100 for black and whites ones and you can even get colour ones for under £300. As with anything prices of durable goods decrease, however regardless of the general price of laser printers, the EPL 6200 is still a bargain in its own right.
---------- Quality ----------
As with most laser printers the quality is exceptional, the printer is only black and white however there are a number of grey shade variants which bring even black and white photographs to life. As with all laser printers, the pixels are harder to identify than with inkjet printers so the pictures look fuller and and less broken up. Its very rarely that inkjet printouts come close to this, and in the event that they do, they are often given the complimentary term "laser quality."
--------- Speed ---------
Speed is extremely good at 20 pages per minute. This makes it the perfect printer for businesses, both small and large and its really easy to network which is useful. Also at this price, it makes a suitable black and white printer for the home office, for printing the odd letter here and there to full length school or work projects and reports. Essentially, its ideal for both home and office usage. Because its a laser printer it also has a high output per month, printers like these are capable of printing in excess of 10,000 pages a month.
------------------------------------------------ Toner Life and Consumables Cost ------------------------------------------------
The toner life is quite good, lasting on average about 5000 pages. They are quite expensive to replace which is a negative point, at £70 they don't come cheap however its a similiar price to what you'd pay for other laser toners. The drum unit, or photoconductor unit will also need replacing every 60,000 pages or so and these cost around £50, however you'll be replacing these much less often. One benefit however, is that when you purchase the printer, you'll already have a black toner cartridge installed to get you started. I'm suprised that ciao have found this printer at a price as low as £84, they're practically giving you the printer free!
----------- Design -----------
Okay, so design isnít a majorly important consideration however I think its becoming more important to modern buyers. At one time of the day, people took the stance that as long as it printed it didnít matter how ugly, or how huge it was. But times change, its just like televisions have gone from being black, to silver, to flat screen and so on. Printers are changing too, this printer I think has quite an attractive design for a laser printer. Its white and grey in colour, nothing too fancy but simple for the office, thatís an important thing to consider, the fact that these are intended really for business usage means it doesnít have to look very desirable providing it does the job. The size isnít bad, its not as small and compact as many recent laser printers yet the smaller printers donít offer the specification this model does. On the other hand its not immensely large, like some of the older models. So Epson havenít really created a breakthrough in design but its certainly adequate.
---------------------------- Reliability and usage ----------------------------
Iíve only had this printer a couple of months but Iíve had no trouble as of yet. Okay, Iím not going to lie by saying I donít get the odd paper jam now and again, but thatís common of all printers so one can expect it, especially when your printing in large volumes. Iíve never had any troubles with the print outs themselves, they are always of extremely good quality. As far as reliability goes, it always does its job, Iíve never had to turn the printer on and off for instance in the middle of a print job because it suddenly stopped (which I seem to have to do with many other printers) and the only time it ever stops printing is if there is a paper jam, as mentioned earlier.
The printer is really easy to use. It works with most of the modern operating systems, including most recently XP, and more earlier versions Windows 2000, Me and 1998. I havenít tried it with windows 1995 but Iím sure the software will be available from Epson if needs be. As with most new printers you get an installation booklet, and a CD Rom to help you get it installed and you basically follow the on screen instructions, its as easy as one, two, three. Its also easy to network, providing youíve got all the leads and necessities enable to network it you should find it easy, but donít take my word for it, Iím using it for the home office so I canít be certain about networking this particular model. As far as printing itself goes, itís a matter of pressing print on your computer and watching it print, its simple to turn on and off and the software makes it quick and easy to adjust settings, for example you can adjust it to use different paper sizes or use toner save settings which reduce the toner usage.
---------- Overall ----------
Overall, I can only recommend this printer. Its fast, with excellent quality and at a very low price making it a tough competitor in the laser printer market. Its also adequate for different needs, both home usage and office usage making it extremely versatile. Okay, we canít forget the down sides, compatible toners are quite highly priced but for the amount of time they last, its not like youíre going to be replacing them every week. The design is a little bland also but who really cares providing it does its job? Essentially, this is a great laser printer and would make the perfect addition to any home or office.
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