The dot count does count. If a user's standard template for overhead transparencies features smooth gradations from one colour to another, or if they use photos often in your colour print projects, you will appreciate the crisp, smooth 1200 by 1200dpi output from Tektronix's Phaser 550 colour laser printer.
The colours from the Phaser 550 are not as bright and pure as those from Hewlett-Packard's Colour LaserJet 5M, but colour transitions are much smoother at 1200dpi than at the HP's 300 dpi. Boundaries where one solid colour meets another are clean, with no trace of colour bleeding. Text from the Phaser 550 is also very crisp and detailed, whether you're printing in black or dressing up your type with colour.
The paper tray that comes with the printer holds 250 sheets of A4 paper. You can buy additional trays to hold 100 sheets of transparency film or 250 sheets of A4 paper.
Tektronix is conservative in its recommendations, suggesting that you use only full-page label stock, not die-cut labels. And the driver provides no paper definitions for envelopes. The paper path from the manual-feed tray has no sharp turns, though, and I fed die-cut laser labels, envelopes, and even light card stock through the printer manually with good results, except for a bit of wrinkling on the envelopes.
Setup was quick and straightforward. The printer is designed for easy access to the working parts through a swing-out front panel, and the toner cartridges - one to a colour, not the separate toner and developer cartridges found in some printers - snap in place inside a swing-down panel on the right side. There are four thoughtfully provided hand-holds around the bottom of the printer so you can move it more easily.
Besides having a parallel printer port and a SCSI port for attaching a hard drive or the Phaser Copystation, the printer I worked with had an Ethernet card with both 10Base-2 and 10Base-T connectors and support for NetWare, EtherTalk, and TCP/IP. Two other cards are available for that adaptor slot.
The quality of colour laser printers is improving at a stunning pace, and with the Phaser 550, Tektronix marks its place as a leader in this fast-moving field.
Tel: (02) 888 7066 Fax: (02) 888 0125