As a small, portable monochrome laser printer for the home or small office, the Fuji Xerox Phaser 3125/N is a cost-effective proposition at AU$299, capable of delivering quality text prints. Even so, do be aware that image quality (like on many lasers) is fairly poor, and you'll have to live with the dull box-like styling sitting somewhere on your workspace.
The look of the Phaser is utilitarian - spartan, even - shaped more like a box than anything else. enclose in off-white plastic with a gentle indentation at the top, the 3125/N measures 35.8cm wide by 25.3cm high by 29.8cm deep and weighs a tiny 8.9kg. Its comparatively small size means that it will sit comfortably on a desktop without interfereing too much - though its rather plain outer will probably put you off keeping it next to you on your desk.
There is very little else to mention about the design apart from the power switch, which is located on the right-hand side of the unit, next to the power cord, and the status light/ready button at the top right.
All consumables (paper tray, toner) are accessible from the front of the unit, with the paper tray extending out from the bottom of the printer.
Alongside the standard USB 2.0 and parallel port connectivity, the 3125/N is a network ready printer with 10/100Base-TX Ethernet. There's 32MB of internal memory inside the machine as well.
The input paper tray can hold up to 250 pages at a time, while the output paper tray at the top can hold 100 pages. Provided in the box is a quick installation guide, two CDs with print drivers for Windows (Vista/XP) and Mac, the printer itself, a series of power cables for different regions and a USB cable.
Fuji Xerox claims that the 3125/N can spit out 24 pages per minute at top speed - let's see if this claim holds up in our performance tests.
The initial set-up was a comparatively easy process. The eight-step (printed) guide made light work of plugging everything in and getting the installation underway. As for the software, it took around three minutes to get everything installed and set up.
We do have to take some points off for the lack of documentation pertaining to the set-up of the 3125/N on a network - even the included user manual on the CD was unable to shed any light on the situation, making the task that much more arduous. Fortunately, once we had installed the software and plugged the printer into our network, did it automatically detect and configure it.
Our initial test was a five-page text document on normal print quality settings. The first page took 19 seconds to emerge from the top of the printer, with successive pages averaging 2.75 seconds each. Therefore, on normal quality, the 3125/N fell just short of the stated 24 pages per minute in our tests. Once the printer had warmed up from a couple of print jobs, we found that the time for the first page to emerge dropped substantially, to around seven seconds.
Image quality was somewhat patchy. Overall, images had horizontal lines present across areas of flat colour, and even on maximum quality (1,200dpi), pictures appeared pixellated and blurred. They were also a little on the dark side, favouring dark grey and black over a more muted monochrome palette.
Fortunately, small text (8- and 10-point) was highly readable and crisp, and standard (12-point) was excellent. Larger text (20+ point) was a little disappointing compared to the smaller sizes, with a little blurring present.
Another problem that we found with our printouts was to do with the 3125/N being a little rough with the paper - at first we thought the toner had traced a faint line down the right-hand section of the page but, on closer inspection, we realised that the fine line was actually an indentation, as if the printer had pushed the sheet of paper too hard against the rollers.
Noise levels were quite low, though in a quiet space you will definitely notice the printer in action. Fortunately, the 3125/N's standby mode was almost silent.
Fuji Xerox states that a single toner will yield around 3,000 pages. This works out to be a cost of 4.8 cents per page, calculated using the average toner price at the time of writing (AU$145).
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