Xerox Phaser 8400 printer


As I was preparing for the wedding, I finally decided to change my main printer (after 2 mostly happy years with the Xerox 860DP). The 8400 is the first "true Xerox" version of the Phaser product line and I evaluated costs and features of a number of printers before deciding to stay with Xerox.

As some of you may recall, the 860DP was acquired under the FreeColorPrinters.com program (which now features the Phaser 8200 printer, the predecessor of the 8400). This time, I decided that I wanted to stop playing around and just buy one outright. It saves on the amount of printing that I was having to do, allowed me to get exactly the printer that I wanted, and guaranteed that I wasn't going to be charged for being out of town on the first of the month when the usage reports are due.

Why?

So, why did I replace my printer right before my wedding. First, I had been thinking about it for some time. I have been really happy with the quality and durability of the Solid Ink printers from Xerox (the 860, 8400, and 8200 are all solid ink printers), but there were some management and compatibility issues with the 860DP that were starting to make my life a bit more difficult than I liked.

The most important problem that I had with the 860DP was inflexibility in paper handling. It comes with very good paper sensors and if you try and print on the "wrong size" paper, it will stop the print job and prompt you to insert the correct paper. To add to this annoyance, the right sized paper can only be Legal, Letter, A4, Executive, and #10 envelopes. This made working with things like invitations and programs for the wedding a lot more difficult, but had also given me problems in the past when using specialty papers and labels.

Next, the Postscript in the 860DP had some resource management problems. This caused a few problems when using advanced graphics programs and manual Postscript programming. The main indication was an occasional resource management problem, causing print failures even when the printer had >128MB of RAM and was printing web pages.

Third, the 860DP says it will do 600dpi, but the reality is that it is a 355dpi printer that using dot control (similar to that used my most inkjet printers and some lasers) to get increased quality.

Other printers

I looked at other offerings from Lexmark, HP, NEC and others, but many of them had the same paper handling problems, or had expensive consumables and other features and problems that pushed me back toward the 8400.

In particular, the Lexmark line was interesting, but the paper handling issues are about the same there (I tried using some of the older Lexmark printers at a friend's to print some of the odd-sized items to no avail).

The verdict

So, what do I think about the 8400 after about 1500 pages printed?

I'm happy with it. As a matter of fact, I'm very happy with it. The paper handling is actually much better than I had expected it would be and has some very nice features. The Postscript is working just fine. The true 600dpi with enhancement is a nice bump in quality (although I'm still going to print pictures on the Epson Stylus 2200--probably the best normal-format inkjet in existence today).

All things considered, a very nice printer to be using. Oh, did I mention that it does Rendezvous? And UPNP?