PACKARD BELL 9500 DESKTOP LASER PRINTER
The PB9500 passed, with flying colors, a pretty stringent test: It performed beautifully for two editors whose printing needs are intense and ongoing. We threw everything at this printer: daily memos, article drafts, long proposals and reports (complete with charts), and even a book manuscript or two. The printer threw back, with the unflappable precision of a machine doing what it's designed to do, crisply reproduced pages with nary a smudge and only the rarest of paper jams.
The printer is well equipped for its price (which should be substantially below retail list in the stores through which Packard Bell markets its products). Resident fonts include four Courier styles as well as Portrait and Landscape line printer modes. Additional fonts can be added, although the add-on slots are optional. The printer's standard emulation is Hewlett-Packard Laserjet II; you can add other emulations by way of optional cartridges. The machine comes with 1.5 megabytes of memory, and you can upgrade to either 2.5 or 4.5 megabytes. Packard Bell has done a good job of assembling an attractive array of features at a competitive price.
This is also one of the quietest laser printers I've used. I especially appreciated the way the printer powers down its fan between uses. There's no constant low hum in the background as is customary with most lasers. The idle mode is a feature that other printer manufacturers would do well to incorporate.
The PB9500 laser printer offers crisply reproduced pages with nary a smudge and only the rarest of paper jams.
Although the printer's output is rated at six printed text pages per minute, I found the unit capable of exceeding that rate on all but the heaviest of jobs. Typical text output, with reasonable margins, can easily hit seven pages per minute.
While this is not a printer for ambitious desktop publishing applications, it did perform at an acceptable speed when printing documents involving simple graphs, charts, and logos.
Well-built, with a solid housing and equally solid catches and latches, the PB9500 should hold up well over time. Its small footprint lets you place it comfortably in the corner of a desk, although the paper tray adds to the space required. LCD controls are arranged along the front of the machine. Setup is simple and relatively foolproof. The few paper jams we encountered were easily cleared.
The 150-sheet input paper tray included with the printer can handle letter- and legal-size pages. The printer can also accommodate envelopes, labels, and transparencies.
The PB9500 is a solid laser printer for text-intensive operations. Its combination of features, speed, quiet operation, and price make this a good choice for home or business.
Packard Bell PB9500—$2,195.00
Options: Output paper tray—$29.95
2MB memory upgrade—$995.00
4MB memory upgrade—$1,950.00
Emulation cartidges for IBM Pro, Diablo
630, and Epson FX—$229.00 each