The new Phaser 7500 will take over from the Phaser 7400 as Xerox's entry level colour A3 printer and, on the face of it, comes with a similar specification for similar money. However, there have been a few slight tweaks, although the 7500's print speed is inexplicably lower than the 7400's. It’s just a small difference and one that will hardly be noticed by most users but it is slightly odd when consumers are used to new models that are faster and more powerful than their predecessors.
On the plus side, processor speed has been increased from 800MHz in the Phaser 7400 to 1GHz in the 7500, while memory capacity for the N and DN configurations has been doubled to 512MB. As a result, first page out time for the 7500 is up to five seconds faster than the 7400 – as low as seven seconds, according to the spec sheet. Since most print runs are still relatively short, this will probably have a much more noticeable effect than a small change in print speed.
We could waffle on for ages about what's been updated on the 7500 and what hasn't but, apart from its much improved looks, the feature that's really grabbed our attention is the Color By Words software. This clever little tool allows you to change the colour of an object or area in a printout without changing the source file; you simply choose the adjustment you want to make from a drop-down menu and Color By Words will adjust the printout. The drop down options actually make sense to those of us who aren’t experts in digital photography, so you can make "yellow-green colours a lot more green" and "red colours a lot more saturated" for instance. This should make it a lot quicker and easier to produce printouts that look the way you want them to.
The 7500 also comes with true Adobe Postscript 3, Black Trapping software which keeps text crisp, regardless of the background and accounting software to allow accurate billing for colour and mono prints to individual departments.
All this adds up to what looks like a genuine improvement on the Phaser 7400; lower running costs will also be a big factor in tempting buyers to the 7500. A potential fly in the ointment, at least in the short term, could be the Oki c9650, which is basically the same machine as the Phaser 7400 but with lower running costs than both the Xerox printers and some extremely tempting special offers available. Will the Phaser 7500 be good enough to overcome the lure of £500 cashback and three years warranty? We'll have to see.
by Anthony Morgan