: I'm looking for a colour laser printer... any suggestions?

Suite Edit
Sep 10th, 2005, 04:42 PM

I just searched through some posts over the last year on buying a laser printer and found a lot of useful info. So thanks again to those who already answered other users' questions.

I am in the market to a entry to mid-level COLOUR laser printer. My Epson 740i finally died after many years of (mostly good) service. I am now in film school, so most of what I print will be text, but I am also taking graphic design courses, requiring colour prints. I would also like the option of printing my own business cards at some point, so duplexing colour would be nice.

After hours of online research, I have narrowed my selection down to 2 main choices:
1) The Dell 3100cn (http://www1.ca.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/print_3100cn?c=ca&cs=CADHS1&l=en&s=dhs) for $679
2) The HP LaserJet 2550L (or Ln) (http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/ca/en/un/WF06b/18972-236251-236268-15077-236268-388394-388396-388397.html) wow, that's a long address! for $499 or $699 with networking.

The Dell website says that Macs are only supported through TCP/IP, and I was wondering what sort of features I would loose. The HP is more expensive per sheet ($0.03 versus $0.015), but if I don't get the ethernet option, the purchase price is much cheaper. One more strike against the Dell is I have been on hold trying to find out details (even order one!) for 45 minutes now (and counting) when the person said only 15 min. wait time. What does this mean when I want support?!?

Does anyone have experience with these or other colour lasers in this price range?

I read something in another thread about solid-ink printers being better (I especially like the environmental advantage), but it looks like the cheapest Xerox one is $1000, too rich for my student blood.

Any help is appreciated... thanks in advance!

Sep 10th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Take out a loan or dip into the osap fund and get the Xerox. :) One of the best products for the Mac out there. ;)

Sep 10th, 2005, 05:24 PM
one thing to consider is that you can often get sales and/or bargain the cost down at dell. I cant recall if Ive ever seen the 3100cn on sale but I do remember the 3000cn being offered at $249 w/ free shipping back in july.

Depending on your situation, you may find having the ethernet a valuable addition to the printer. Ive got a laserjet 5 connected to the network and now I can print from my laptop wherever I am in the house. you could add it later with a seperate print server or via print sharing but having it built-in makes it that much easier.

I havent called dell for support so I cant comment on that but if you are calling for sales, remember that it is saturday so they probably have less staff working. It's also the last day of "the ten days of dell" sale so then may be having higher than average sales volume.

Suite Edit
Sep 10th, 2005, 05:32 PM
ehMax - I certainly would love to, but I am already borrowing money at 4% to pruchase this, and the Phaser 8500 is double the price. I'll have a hard time justifying the price difference between that and a $150 inkjet to the bank (parents). It's hard enough to justify a colour laser at this point.

Tommy - That's probably the reason... stupid sale. I hung up after two hours of waiting, and said f*ck Dell. but i'll give their service people a call... they'll answer my question. I really only need the 300cn, but it doesn't support Macs :(

*EDIT* YES!!!! I finally turned 100!!! It's been a long time coming, but I'd like to think the few things I do post are worthwhile ;) *Happy 100-post-day to me... Happy 100-post-day to me...*

Suite Edit
Sep 10th, 2005, 06:06 PM
Well, I just spoke to Dell support, and they will support it strictly for hardware, as a stand-alone network printer. I guess this means that I rely on the OSX network printer drivers... I'm very new to this, so am I still going to be able to set my colour, quality, and resolution settings? Has anyone ever used this printer? Maybe one that relies on the OSX drivers?

Sep 10th, 2005, 08:30 PM
I JUST went through this same process and ended up with an HP2600n which is comperabe with the quality of the 2550 BUT includes USB2 and an ethernet port for $499 canadian

disadvantage they are not postscript,
advantage you can purchase an additonal paper tray as a secondary paper source.

Futureshop product link (http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&langid=EN&sku_id=0665000FS10062252&catid=10233)

Futuresuck has them for $499 for sale and have them in store, since they are too cheap to demo them they allow you to take them home for up to 30 daysd and retunr them without penalty.

I have one in my office for 2 weeks and its a fast little printer and can pretty much take anything I can throw at it.

check it out :D

Sep 10th, 2005, 09:27 PM
The other thing to consider is the ink/cartridges and the cost/availability.
Sucks when the ink costs almost as much as a new printer.

Sep 11th, 2005, 01:00 AM
The Dell is an awsome printer, although the mac support is for all practical purposes a basic strictly PostScript driver.

Although someone mentioned to me that they were able to use a 3000cn, one model down over USB with a Xerox driver. I have never been bothered to try, but it prints monochrome just fine.

Another consideratation is that the Dell colour lasers are MASSIVE, they are huge. Almost Apple Network Server 500 massive

Suite Edit
Sep 11th, 2005, 02:25 AM
Thanks guys!
dibenga - The 2600n looks like it could be an option, but the MacWorld rating wasn't too hot... and I couldn't find the toner replacements on hp.ca... they were on a 3rd party US site, and the per page cost was about $0.04, which is pretty close to a mid-range inkjet.

robert - Yeah, thanks for the heads-up. that's the main reason I'm looking to switch. although mid-range inkjets seem to have decent per-page costs, they don't touch a good laser, or the print quality.

Trevor - Thanks SO much for that info! I'd rather play it safe and go with the 3100nc, that way Dell would actually provide me with support. What do you mean by "a basic strictly PostScript driver"? Will I still be able to select which tray it's feeding from? set the resolution, etc? Will I still be able to print non-postscript fonts?

As for size, it's not a huge issue (no pun intended). I'd rather have a sleek, small printer, but would sacrifice that for quality.

Sep 11th, 2005, 03:21 AM
I have a Dell 3000cn and it is the best printer I have ever owned, I have never even tried the paralell or USB connections. But someone told me, it does work with the original Xerox drivers on the mac in full color. I can not vouch for that, I have never tried it and don't have a USB cable long enough to try.

It prints fine in monochrome as a generic printer,

as for the 3100, Dell did not put much of any effort into mac support, it just works as a PostScript printer, its dell, when it comes to mac support, if the support is built into the device by its nature, they will advertise it as such, they will not however put much effort into the matter.

I don't have extensive experience with it, only the 3000, but by all accounts it works very well. Unless you want to use AppleTalk, which requires a card many are not convinced exists... you should be fine.

When the time came to part with my beloved old HP LaserJet, I look at the low end colour lasers and I was blown away by just how awful they were, in every way, from build quality to consumables to software.

Many of the low end colour lasers are software based printers, meaning the print processor is an application running on the PC, it doesn't get anymore awful than that.

Do you rememer the horrible "Apple Geo-Port Telecomm Adaptor"?

Their worse than that.

The Dell on the otherhand is a high-end business oriented printer, with a real processor, lots of ram, great economy and generous consumables.

This thing came with full toner cartridges,

Suite Edit
Sep 11th, 2005, 12:12 PM
Thanks again Trevor! I'm very close at this point!

I would be using this with printer via Ethernet + Hub, so I wouldn't need to bother with USB drivers. Are you using this printer from your macs? (I assume your G3 and G4) or do you have a PC that you print from? If you are printing via ethernet from your mac, are you able to print colour? can you adjust the various settings?

I have never had to print using the PostScript driver, as I have always used inkjets until now, so I don't know the situation...

Thanks again!

Sep 11th, 2005, 12:55 PM
The Dell looks like a great price for a network Postscript colour laser printer. I checked out the toner cartridge cost and it seems reasonable too. $129 for each of the colour cartridges (4K pages), and $59 for the black cartridge.

Now I'm tempted.

Sep 11th, 2005, 01:07 PM
You'd be better off getting a Samsung CLP-510. It uses the Xerox 6100 engine, but is cheaper than the Xerox. Your local Mac shop should be able to order one in for you.

Sep 11th, 2005, 03:02 PM
My 3000cn is on my network, printing from three PC's and two macs, but the macs are printing in monochrome with the Generic PCL driver.

I am sure it is possible to do on the 3000cn, I just lack the time and motivation to put a whole lot of effort into it. I know a linux user who got it working in full colour with Gimp, a similar technique might work on Mac OS X

But it will work with the 3100 out of the box via post-script, no questions asked,

Sep 11th, 2005, 03:10 PM
You'd be better off getting a Samsung CLP-510. It uses the Xerox 6100 engine, but is cheaper than the Xerox. Your local Mac shop should be able to order one in for you.

The Samsung CLP-510 is USB only unless you buy a print server

Suite Edit
Sep 11th, 2005, 03:42 PM
Rob - The per page cost is the major advantage for the Dell unit, IMHO.

guytoronto - The Samsung has had rather mixed reviews from what I could find. That, coupled with another thread here on lasers which warned of Samsung drivers, makes me quite warry of this unit. My parents bought an Epson laser a few years ago, and experienced driver hell. I just can't afford to go through that again. It also doesn't have built-in ethernet so that I could use it as a PostScript printer (in case I do run into OSX driver issues).

Trevor - Thanks again for the info. I think I'll get the 3100cn, so long as Dell has an OK return policy (if I can't control the features, then why have them?).

I'll probably order tomorrow, so if anyone has objections, speak now or forever hold your peace ;) (or is it piece)...

I'll post about how it turns out..

Sep 11th, 2005, 04:07 PM
I can't speak to Dell's return policy, because I have never had to return anything to Dell.

I have never had a problem with any Dell equipment.

another issue with Samsung printers is they use a propritary printer language, while the Dell uses PCL or PostScript, so you will always be able to get at the very least a functional compatability on Mac or PC no matter what happens in terms of official driver support.

Sep 11th, 2005, 04:12 PM
I have a Xerox 6250 and I love the thing. It was expensive but I believe it was worth the money. I'd do it again if I needed to :)

Sep 11th, 2005, 05:11 PM
The Samsung CLP-510 is USB only unless you buy a print server

Try the CLP-510N. sheesh

Sep 11th, 2005, 05:46 PM
The 510N is almost $100 more expensive than the 510, and it is no value to begin with.