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Xerox Phaser 8500DN

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The Xerox Phaser 8500DN is a network-ready, solid-ink printer featuring PostScript 3 and superb print speeds. It’s also the least-expensive Xerox color office printer we’ve ever reviewed—the base model features built-in 10/100 Ethernet and costs $899 while the unit we tested adds an automatic duplexer for an additional $200. The machine offers great controls and management features that you’d expect from Xerox; however, its graphic print quality doesn’t match that of the less expensive HP 2550Ln (   ; November 2004 ).

The Phaser uses individual solid inks in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; each of these waxy ink blocks is uniquely shaped so you can’t insert one into the wrong slot. When you turn on the printer for the first time, it takes quite a while to get ready (although I didn’t time this process). Even after being plugged in all night, it took three minutes 40 seconds to warm up the next day. (Xerox says this is because the ink needs to melt.)

On the plus side, the unit did appear automatically as a Bonjour printer when I connected it to the network. If you check Include Bonjour in your Safari Bookmarks preferences, you can administer and even download the latest printer driver.

Speed demon

The 8500DN is certainly fast: A one-page Microsoft Word document printed in just under 10 seconds, while Macworld’s 22MB Photoshop test page emerged in 45 seconds—less time than it takes most printers’ status buttons to light up. Using the built-in duplexer didn’t add much time to each job: It took 52 seconds for a single-sided 10-page Word document and 64 seconds for a double-sided copy.

Print quality for office documents was good. Text was legible, even at small point sizes. In our Photoshop test image, though, reds came out a little on the orange side and weren’t very saturated. In our graphics test, the printer did a good job on gradients, but colored specks were visible throughout our grayscale photo image.

jury tests

Graphics-Fine lines, gradients Very Good
22MB Photoshop Image Quality Good
Text Quality Very Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

timed trials

10-page Word test :52
1-page Word test :10
22MB Photoshop image :45
4-page PDF :34


Print Resolution 1,200 dpi (interpolated)
Connection Ethernet, USB 2.0
Paper Sizes up to 8.5x14 inches
PostScript Version PostScript 3
Installed RAM /Max RAM 128MB / 512MB
Cost to replace ink/ toner carts $323 ($56 for black per 3,000 pages; $89 each for C-M-Y per 3,000 color pages)
Weight (in pounds) 60
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 14.5 x 21 x 16
Paper capacity 525
Duty cycle 85K per Month
Special Features Bonjour capable; automatic duplexer

Macworld’s buying advice

The Phaser 8500DN is a great office printer—it’s fast, and its management tools make it feel more like a full-featured medium workgroup printer than an economy color office printer. But if your projects often include photographic elements—and you’re willing to wait longer for pages to print—you should consider a comparably priced laser printer with better graphical print quality.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

Editor’s Note: The maximum RAM capability was changed to 512MB on November 14, 2005 to correct an error. The article has also been update to reflect the fact that this printer uses solid-ink technology. None of these changes affected the mouse rating of the product.

Xerox Phaser 8500DN
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