What is it: a compact 600dpi laser printer that uses the Windows Printing System.
Applications: as a personal printer on the office desktop, either just for greater convenience than sharing a network printer, or because a network printer is considered less secure.
When it comes to producing pages of high-quality text quickly, there is no substitute for a laser printer. Unfortunately, they tend to be very expensive. Also, they are usually quite big, so need a desk of their own, preferably away from users because many models produce pungent ozone and distracting noises.
Fortunately, manufacturers are realising that there is a need for a laser printer that doesn?t have any of these undesirable features. So-called ?personal? laser printers are compact, quiet and cheap, and fit easily into places previously occupied by an inkjet printer.
The QMS Desklaser 600 is one of the smallest and cheapest printers of this type on the market. It is similar in size and design to an inkjet printer. Up to 100 sheets of paper can be loaded into a tray on top of the printer, and they emerge face-down through a slot at the front. There isn?t a paper collection tray, so the printer needs to sit well back on a desk to stop pages falling on the floor.
Until a few years ago, a typical printer had more lights and buttons than the bridge of the USS Enterprise, but the Windows Printing System (WPS) has all but removed this need, and like many WPS printers, the only control on the Desklaser 600 is a power switch.
The WPS relies on the PC, rather than the printer, to do all the work in processing a page for printing. Because a modern PC can do this without breaking into a sweat, printers can have fewer parts. This means that a PC can be smaller, simpler and, more importantly, cheaper.
Because the PC takes responsibility for much of the printing, it can keep an eye on what the printer is doing. Also, WPS printers provide more feedback to the user about print jobs and give much more useful status information.
The days of blinking green LEDs and ?printer error? messages are gone, replaced by a message on the PC?s screen informing you that the printer is out of paper.
The Desklaser 600 uses a combined drum and toner unit which lasts for about 3,000 pages at 5 per cent coverage. It costs about #64 to replace the unit, which means that each page costs around 2p. This is slightly more expensive than other printers of this type but it?s still reasonable.
QMS claims that the drum unit also produces less ozone than other printers, so the Desklaser 600 should sit comfortably on the same desk as the PC it is printing from.
Also, it is not as smelly as some laser printers. However, the warm air that emanates from the paper-out slot during printing means that you need to think carefully about where you place the printer.
The Desklaser 600 is a 600dpi true laser (rather than LED) printer and it really shows. Text is extremely sharp with crisply-formed characters with edges that remain smooth even when magnified.
Graphics quality is just as impressive and the Desklaser 600 produces clear, detailed prints with good contrast. The only drawback is that the dot placement in certain shades of grey isn?t as precise as it could be, leading to slight patterning on some photographic prints.
Contact: QMS on 01784 442255
Verdict: you can?t really fault the QMS Desklaser 600. It?s cheap and produces impressive prints. QMS?s claims of a print speed of 6ppm are a little optimistic (in tests the printer managed about 2ppm), but this is hardly worth worrying about for this type of printer.
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