Kyocera Mita FS-720
A low end mono printer only really useful for personal applications. Because it uses the GDI interface the machine is only compatible with Windows based desktop PCs. Although a machine like this is ideal for home workers, other devices in the same price bracket offer better network connectivity and Postscript/PCL emulation which make them better suited to the office environment.
Lexmark E232 – Good Value
Considering that this is one of the least expensive machines featured here, the E232 offers a surprisingly impressive feature set. With network connectivity, PCL and Postscript emulation and 16Mb of memory all as standard the machine offers a great base specification. On top of this it can take a maximum of 80Mb of memory and paper capacity can also be greatly increased which means that the machine should be able to grow with your business.
A fairly standard entry level GDI printer. In standard trim it should serve well as a personal printer, but add on one of the optional network interfaces and it will work as a low end workgroup printer for environments with low print volume requirements.
A low end GDI machine with no optional network interfaces, making it useful only as a desktop personal printer.
Tally Genicom 9022/9022N – Worth a Look
This machine offers a good base specification which can be beefed up quite a lot to turn it into a reasonable small-workgroup printer. The N variant comes supplied with a network interface and built in web server, while the memory can be expanded to 144Mb to handle higher workloads. PCL emulation comes as standard, but if you need Postscript you will have to pay an extra £100 for it.
Kyocera Mita FS-820
Perhaps a little slower than other devices in this segment, but the Kyocera will no doubt appeal to many buyers because of the company’s reputation for low cost-per-page. The device offers all of the options necessary to make it work well as a small workgroup device, but in such an environment the lower print speed might prove to be a problem.
Although superficially similar to the cheaper HL-240 in its specification, the HL-2070N features a more powerful processor and PCL compatibility, allowing it to perform more complex printing tasks.
The LJ1160 features no standard or optional network adapter and is therefore only useful as a personal printer. With practically no warm up time and a reasonably powerful processor this machine should easily munch through any workload the small or home office user can throw at it.
OKI B4250/N – Best Buy
The B4520 offers a quite high base specification for a personal printer, and the N variant features network connectivity which turns it into a good quality low end workgroup machine. The 266Mhz processor is impressive for this price, and the 16Mb of memory can be expanded to a massive 272Mb – although you may well find third party memory vendors can beat OKI’s prices by a fairly large margin.
Kyocera Mita FS-920
With 32Mb of memory as standard and PCL and Postscript emulation along with a high print resolution of 1800 by 600 dpi, the FS-920 is a good prospect for the small office. However, the monthly duty cycle of 2000 pages seems low in comparison to competitors and this may present a problem for users with heavy workloads.
Xerox Phaser 3150
Although it offers a reasonable print speed and both PCL and Postscript support, the 3150’s lack of options for network capability or memory expansion means that it doesn’t offer the same value for money as some of the other machines in this segment which offer those features at a similar price.
Lexmark E330 – Good Value
A good base specification with plenty of scope for expanding the machine’s capabilities. The 26ppm print speed is noticeably higher than other machines in this price bracket, making it a bit of a bargain for small but busy workgroups.
The standard model is a reasonably specified personal desktop printer in itself, but the N model adds network connectivity to the bundle and the NPS provides additional memory and Postscript support.
Konica Minolta Magicolor 2430DL – Worth a Look
A great entry level colour laser device which feature network connectivity as standard, putting it in direct competition with similarly specified mono lasers that cost almost the same when you factor in the cost of their optional network adaptors. If you are looking for a good workgroup mono printer with the capability to print occasional colour this is a good starting point.
The base T430 model provides a good specification with 30ppm print speed. The D variant provides auto-duplex capability and the DN adds a network adapter as standard. With the T430 we are edging away from the personal printer segment and moving into the workgroup arena. As well as offering PostScript and PCL emulation, the machine had built in PDF support which significantly reduces the time it takes to process and print this type of document.
A low end GDI colour device which offers a reasonably fast 12ppm colour print speed but doesn’t offer network connectivity or support for any of the popular print languages. Not a bad proposition for personal colour printing, although the price seems a little high for the specification.
An average small workgroup printer capable of 20ppm and a monthly duty cycle of 30,000 pages. It is worthy of note that Samsung make it clear that their printers can be upgraded with inexpensive industry standard memory cards, rather than charging high prices for their own brand of memory.
A mid-range work-horse from HP. You don’t get a network adapter with the base model, but it comes as standard with the three variants which are available. Although there’s nothing particularly outstanding in the specification (other than the zero warm up time), the HP badge alone will be enough to convince most buyers.
Dell 3000CN – Good Value
An entry level colour capable device from Dell at a reasonable price. Although the colour print speed is not exactly stunning, you get 64Mb of memory, a network adapter and Postscript support as standard. An excellent first step into colour capable workgroup printing.
Similar to the 3000CN except for the inclusion of wider operating system support and Postscript support. This model also includes an additional 250 sheet input tray.
A 20ppm mono workgroup printer which offers a network adapter as standard. PCL support is included, although Postscript is offered as an optional extra.
Lexmark E332N – Worth a Look
26ppm, 32Mb of memory and a network adapter as standard make this a good offering for the workgroup segment. It has also got a built in web server, for easy remote management, and Postscript emulation included in the price.
Tally Genicom 9025/9025N
The cheapest machine in our feature to offer duplex printing as standard, and it also has a high monthly duty cycle of 150,000. This might seem as though it offers good value, but when you factor in the cost of the optional network adapter it does not seem quite so cheap. If the duplex feature is important then it is well worth a look.