If you want a personal or small office colour laser printer that performs well, is easy to use, and won't take up much space, the Xerox Phaser 6010 certainly belongs on your short list. If you want something that's affordable in the long term however, look elsewhere: Toner costs for the Phaser 6010, especially its colours, are the highest we've seen in a while.

Users who print fairly little might feel the pinch less keenly, but they might also be better served by the Dell 1350cnw, which is nearly identical in most respects (including pricey toner, alas) yet offers the bonus of wireless connectivity.

The Phaser 6010 is compact and simple to use. Even its printing technology is simple: A stationary LED array rather than a moving laser creates the images. Paper handling consists of a 150-sheet front input (really a foldout door with width and length guides), a ten sheet manual feed tray directly above it and a 100 sheet top output tray. Duplexing (two-sided printing) is unfortunately only manual on the PC, and it isn't available on the Mac platform at all. A side panel opens to reveal the four keyed toner supplies. USB and ethernet connections are available.

The control panel is straightforward, consisting of a two line, 16-character monochrome LCD, a four-way cursor and the usual buttons. It's logical and neatly laid out, and the menus are easy to navigate. The HTML configuration pages that offer another way to view printer status and settings are equally simple to use.

The Phaser 6010 performed competently in our tests, compared with other low cost models. Text pages exited at a brisk 9.6 pages per minute on both the PC and Mac. Half-page colour graphics, printed at default or finer settings, emerged at almost 2 ppm. A more complex photo rendered on the Mac took about 2 minutes, or 0.5 ppm.

Outside of some slight banding in colour graphics, the output quality of the Phaser 6010 was impressive. Colors looked slightly cool and dark, but still very natural and details were precise. Text was sharp, black and smooth.

Now for the bad news: toner costs. Although you may eventually find the toner cheaper online, Xerox's estimated retail prices are $70 for the 2000-page black cartridge and $60 apiece for the cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges. That works out to 3.5 cents per page of text, and a stunning 21.5 cents for a four-color page.

For a printer with a 30,000-page monthly duty cycle, the toner surcharges could add up quickly. Even worse, the unit ships with 500-page starter cartridges, so you'll be shelling out dough earlier rather than later. The printer started warning us that the black toner levels were low after we had printed only 100 text pages and about 25 colour pages.


The Xerox Phaser 6010 is a printer we wanted to like. Its simplicity, good performance and output quality are compelling. Actually, we did like it, we just don't like paying though the nose for toner, and the lack of automatic duplexing makes it hard to save on paper, too.