installed the printer via the USB connection without any
problems. We also added a 16MB SIMM to the printer's base
memory. Tests included text and images generated in or
with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, and Adobe PhotoShop.
We used a variety of paper stock — everything from
cheap 20lb. copy paper, to ultra-smooth card stock, rough
textured envelopes, and a number of different Avery specialty
papers including stickers, labels, and high-gloss photo
paper. The only paper feed problems we encountered occurred
with some really terrible no-name copy paper (which doesn't
feed properly on our Lexmark Optra S2455 network printer
either - we're stuck with about 5 cases of the stuff, so
anybody who wants it can come and get it).
first thing we noticed is that the P8ex is fast. We hit
the 8ppm rated print speed on simple correspondence (three-quarters
of a page of B&W 12pt. text). The initial rendering
routine in the P8ex driver is slower than it should be
however, no matter what resolution you've chosen. Hopefully,
Xerox will address the issue with a driver update. Note
also that we really never came close to hitting the duty
cycle of this printer (8,000 pages per month), so it
tended to power down between output sessions, and that
extended the first page cycle time.
from the P8ex was mostly faultless although we expected
somewhat better B&W or grey scale rendering of color
bitmap images. Bitmap reproduction was good but not exceptional.
Text (all colors) and vector graphics (color and monochrome)
were outstanding and rated at least as good and in most
cases better than our benchmark Hewlett-Packard(R) 5L
the record (and to provide some perspective) there are
some versatile alternatives to fast desktop lasers. For
example, in the same price range the latest crop of inkjet
printers from Epson boast text and grey scale output
virtually identical to the P8ex. The Epson 660, 840,
900, and 1520 also boast the finest desktop color output
on the market today in their respective price ranges.
Hewlett-Packard has not been able to touch Epson's color
inkjet output technology for some time now, and it's
a tribute to HP's marketing and PR that its printers
still remain more popular than Epson's. For many people,
$399 worth of color inkjet is a much better bet than
a $399 B&W laser. Inkjet consumables are more expensive,
but if you're in definite need of color, the Epson line
is affordable, rock solid, and top drawer. Competing
color inkjet models from Xerox (DocuPrint C11 & C15)
and HP (970cse, 1120cxi, etc.) don't quite measure up
to Epson's standard. Canon is lost somewhere, still struggling
to sort out what constitutes top quality and reliability.
dithering and/or rendering of color graphics, especially
bitmaps and low resolution (web) graphics needs improvement
(the HP5L, if you can find one, is still the monochrome
laser bitmap graphics king). Start up or first page cycle
time is slow in low volume environments (less than 2,000
pages per month; 10-12 pages per hour).
the maximum paper size is limited to U.S. Legal (8.5"x14"),
the P8ex can handle a wide range of paper thicknesses,
formats, and standard sizes quite well (including A4,
A5, B5/C5/#10 envelopes, Monarch envelope, DL envelope,
8.5"x13" Folio, and custom). Black text from
300 dpi all the way up to 1200 dpi is superb. Line art
and gradients are reproduced extremely well. Memory is
expandable via the addition of single SIMMs; it doesn't
get any easier or cheaper (by comparison, HP still uses
expensive proprietary memory cards). Toner cartridges
are widely available from all the normal sources, and
directly from Xerox. We didn't test the printer against
all its marketplace rivals, so we can't officially give
the P8ex a 'Best Buy' rating, but if you're in the market
for a relatively small, serious SOHO or small office
workhorse, the Xerox DocuPrint P8ex is a good choice.
As of the March 2007 update to this review, their also
getting scarce. Recommended.