Xerox Phaser 3610/N


Basically the same printer as the Xerox Phaser 3610/DN Printer$621.41 at that I recently reviewed, the Xerox Phaser 3610/N Printer offers all the same features except one. Unlike the DN model, the 3610/N doesn’t duplex (print on both sides of the page). If you need to duplex, or even think you might need to duplex, ever, that rules the 3610/N out, especially since you can’t add a duplexer to it as an upgrade. If you’re sure you’ll never need to duplex, however, it will give you all the same capability as the DN model otherwise at a slightly lower price.

Like its duplexing near twin, the 3610/N is designed as a workhorse mono laser for a small to mid-size office or workgroup. Aside from the lack of a duplexer, it’s particularly strong on paper handling, with a 550-sheet main tray and 150-sheet multipurpose tray standard, and the option to add up to three additional 550-sheet trays ($199.99 direct each) for a maximum 2,350 sheets. It lacks any output options, like a finisher or stacker, but the input capacity is enough for heavy-duty use by small to mid-size office standards.

Setup and Speed
The printer measures 12.4 by 15.5 by 16.8 inches (HWD) with its standard complement of trays, and it weighs in at 28.7 pounds, which makes it light enough for one person to move into place. Beyond that, setup for the 3610/N is typical for the category. I connected it to a wired network for my tests and installed the drivers on a Windows Vista system. You can also connect by USB, with Wi-Fi available as an option ($99.99 direct).

Xerox rates the 3610/N at 47 pages per minute (ppm), which should be close to the speed you’ll see with text or other files that don’t require much processing. On our tests, however, I clocked it at 12.0 ppm (usingQualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing). That’s a tie with the 3610/DN in simplex (single-sided) mode and a little faster than the 3610/DN in its default duplex mode, at 11.1 ppm.

Unfortunately, both printers are a little slow for the price and engine rating. The Editors’ Choice Dell B3460dn$649.99 at Dell Small Business, came in at 15.3 ppm, for example, and the less expensive Editors’ Choice Dell B2360dn$249.99 at Dell hit 15.0 ppm.

Output Quality and Other Issues
The good news is that as with the Xerox 3610/DN, the 3610/N largely makes up for its slow speed by offering somewhat better than par output quality overall.

Text quality is good enough for virtually any business need, which, for most offices, is the most important quality issue for a mono laser. Graphics quality is at the high end of par, making it easily good enough for any internal office use. Depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, it’s also potentially good enough for PowerPoint handouts and the like. Photo quality is easily above par for a mono laser. Many people would consider it good enough for photos on output like one-page handouts with photos.

Also on the plus side for the 3610/N is a low claimed running cost, at 1.7 cents per page, and several potentially useful conveniences, starting with mobile printing.

The mobile printing support includes printing through the cloud and printing over Wi-Fi from an iOS or Android phone or tablet. To use either feature, the printer has to be connected to your network. In addition, the network needs to be connected to the Internet for cloud printing, and you need an access point on the network for printing over Wi-Fi. Adding the Wi-Fi option to the printer doesn’t eliminate the need for an access point, since the optional Wi-Fi doesn’t support Wi-Fi Direct.

Two other noteworthy convenience features are private printing (which Xerox calls secure printing), and the ability to save jobs in the printer. With private printing, you can send a job to the printer, and it won’t print until you enter a PIN code through the front panel menu. This can be handy if you’re printing something you don’t want others to see.

Saving jobs to the printer lets you store pages, like forms that need to be filled in repeatedly, so you can print them quickly and easily with front panel commands. Note that with the basic version of the printer, the forms are stored only in standard memory, however, so you’ll lose them if you turn the printer off. For the feature to be truly useful, you need to add the optional Productivity Kit ($349.99 list), which saves the files to non-volatile memory.

One minor issue is that the menus on the front panel aren’t as straightforward as they could be, making it hard to find some options quickly. However, you can easily print a Menu Map page, which shows you exactly how to navigate to the option you’re looking for.

As with its duplexing doppelganger, the Xerox Phaser 3610/N Printer delivers on paper capacity, low running cost, better than par output quality, and convenience features like mobile printing and private printing. Not being able to add a duplexer later means that if you have any question about ever needing to duplex, you’ll be better off paying a little extra for the Xerox Phaser 3610/DN Printer, or an equivalent model that also has a duplexer. If you’re sure you’ll never need to duplex, however, the Xerox Phaser 3610/N Printer is a more than reasonable choice.

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