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Xerox Phaser 6500N review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £276.88
inc VAT

The Phaser 6500N is readily upgradable and produces stunning prints. However, it lacks a duplexer and has high running costs.

Xerox’s Phaser 6280N has been one of our favourite colour lasers since we reviewed it in issue 250, so we were keen to see if the latest model was as good. The Phaser 6500N is a big, upright printer, but it’s slightly smaller and has a lower speed rating than the 6280N. The version we reviewed has an Ethernet port, but if you want duplex, the Phaser 6500DN costs roughly £100 more.

While upgrades to some printers either aren’t available or cost a fortune, expanding the 6500N is reasonably practical. A wireless interface costs around £160, and the RAM can be upgraded from 256MB to a 768MB maximum for £113. Unusually, duplex is available as an after-sales upgrade, costing £100, while adding a second, 250-sheet paper tray will set you back just over £150.

Xerox Phaser 6500N

Despite a compact footprint, the 6500N’s standard paper tray extends slightly from the back when loaded with A4 paper. Fortunately there’s a dust cover, but this is easily dislodged. When printing, the paper picking mechanism makes soft sliding and clicking noises that reminded us of Ivor the Engine, but the reverie is spoiled by a grating whine over the top. At 20.3ppm, the 6500N was very quick to print black text, but its 10.4ppm performance on our mixed-colour document was unhurried.

Although not especially quick, the 6500N produces some of the best prints we’ve seen from a colour laser. The colour balance of photos and graphics was perfect. The brightness and contrast of prints was beautifully judged, helping to preserve fine detail that isn’t often visible in competitors’ results.

Business graphics looked absolutely excellent, with crisp outlines and barely visible dithering. We could fault only some jagged colour boundaries in our PowerPoint slides.

Xerox Phaser 6500N display

At the time of writing, the 6500N was so new that we could find the price of some consumables only in the US, and as such could only estimate its running costs. Our calculations suggest it’s relatively economical in colour but much less so when printing black only. If these costs fall as consumables become widespread in the UK, the 6500N will be a better choice. However, the Konica Minolta Magicolor 3730DN has similar speeds and print quality, but lower running costs and a duplexer for only £11 more.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution600x600dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution600x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A423ppm
Quoted speed, colour A423ppm

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.033s
Time for two 10x8in photos 1.050s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.059s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet
Optional printer interfaces£159
Noise (in normal use)53dB(A)
Duty cycle40,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight216gsm
Standard paper inputs2
Standard paper input capacity251
Maximum paper inputs3
Maximum paper input capacity501
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes


Printer technologysingle-pass colour laser
Language(s)PCL 6, Adobe PostScript 3
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Linux
Standard printer memory256MB
Maximum printer memory768MB
Other laser features and options£113

Buying Information

Price of 2nd paper cassette£164
Capacity of supplied black toner1,000 pages
Capacity of supplied colour toners1,000 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s)30,000 pages
Estimated colour TCO – three years medium£1607.86
Estimated colour TCO – three years heavy£6225.02
Warrantyone year onsite
Consumable parts and prices£66

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.050s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.059s