Computing - general &Nerd stuff (technology) 16 May 2007 02:55 pm

Thinking about a colour laser printer? Watch out for running costs…

On a number of occasions recently, it would have been really handy to have a colour laser printer at the House of Nerds, in order to produce business-quality colour printouts.

I thought seriously about buying one of the nifty little Samsung CLP-300N devices ($A599 RRP, available for less than half that price at IT Estate). Then I did the sums on running costs and quickly changed my mind.

Subsequently, I spent a few spare minutes looking at up-front prices and running costs for some of the popular colour laser printers. It makes fascinating reading. Check out the table (click it for better resolution):

collaser1.png

Not surprisingly, the printer with the lowest buy-price is the most expensive to run (Samsung CLP300N).

A few key observations:

* with the exception of the Samsung CLP-300N, these are all large, hefty printers – if you are thinking of buying, make sure you have room (and a strong surface to install onto)
* most of the printers ship with ‘starter cartridges’, having lower capacity than the cartridges you’ll need to buy when the starters run out
* in almost every case, the first full set of cartridges will cost more than the printer (including starters) – sounds crazy, but that’s the way it is
* there are significant differences between printers in terms of network connectivity (handy when you want to share the device between users) and duplexing (to save paper).

To my eyes, it looks like the FujiXerox C2100A offers the best value for money today: the usage costs are amongst the lowest, the purchase price is not too bad, and it includes networking and a duplexer. (NB: price includes $150 cash back available until end of June; duplexer provided free until end of June – normally $250.)

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