Xerox Phaser 6180VDN

Xerox tackles the mid-range colour laser market, but will its latest low-price business printer in the Phaser line outperform cheaper entry-level models?

Editor's ChoiceXerox Phaser 6180VDN

Colour laser printers start at around 125 these days, but for one with a duty cycle capable of coping with a decent SME workgroup or small department in a business, you'll need to spend closer to the 350 Xerox is asking for the Phaser 6180VDN.

Although Xerox mixes solid ink and laser printers under the same Phaser brand name hoping for a review headline of "Phasers to stun" no doubt this is a true colour laser.

And it's a tall colour laser, thanks to its inline engine being mounted vertically inside, but has a surprisingly small footprint. It comes as standard with a 250-sheet paper tray, a bit on the low-capacity side, but supplements this with a 150-sheet multi-purpose tray, a bit on the high-capacity side. An optional 500-sheet tray is also available and sits underneath the printer.

The control panel is a little old-fashioned looking, but still fulfils all the usual needs. The two-line, 16-character LCD display provides useful status information and works well with the sensibly designed menus. There are two large LEDs in front of the display, indicating error conditions, should they occur.

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What's missing from the front of the printer is a USB socket for walk-up printing. This is becoming an increasingly popular option on business printers, as well as being commonplace on consumer units, so files can be printed from a USB flash drive. Such a feature improves flexibility and security you can, for example, ensure a document only prints when you're standing by the printer to take it from the output tray.

Standard connections on the Phaser 6180VDN are USB, 10/100 Ethernet and legacy parallel. Xerox provides both PCL and genuine Adobe Postscript drivers.

Setting the machine up is easy, as the combined toner and drum cartridges all slot into place, one above the other, with a positive location. Cartridge capacities are measured in thousands of pages, so you won't be replacing them every other week, and the fuser is a lifetime component.

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