Juki 6300; daisywheel keep on turning. (evaluation) Owen W. Linzmayer.
Sacrifice is essential in the selection of any major purchase, but it is especially true of computer printers. If you buy a dot matrix printer, you sacrifice letter quality output for a variety of easily accessible type modes and dot-addressable graphics. On the other hand, if you purchase a typical daisywheel printer, you get fully-formed characters but sacrifice considerable print speed. Less so today. The Juki 6300 is a $995 daisywheel printer with an impressive output of 40 characters per second (a typical $600 daisywheel prints 15 to 25 cps) and limited graphics capabilities.
The Juki 6300 is a sister model to the popular $599 Juki 6100 printer. Designed to meet the heavier demands of larger businesses, the 6300 zips along at 40 cps and can accept four-part forms up to 16 inches wide.
Physically, the Juki 6300 is a well-built printer that weighs less than 33 pounds. The hinged cover of the 6300 tilts up and pops off to allow access to a bank of DIP switches which control a number of printer options (pica, elite, micro, and proportional pitches). Not only are these switches easy to get to, they are labeled too! A second set of DIP switches used to select one of eight international character sets is located on the back of the unit.
Internally, the 6300 is insulated with foam to reduce operating noise. When printing, the unit emits 60dB, which is very quiet for a daisywheel--it sounds muffled, like a jackhammer being used several blocks down the street. While sitting idle the 6300 is as silent as a church mouse.
Measuring 23.6" x 15.7" x 4.9", the cream-colored Juki 6300 has a footprint slightly larger than an IBM PC. In this world of limited table space, it is a shame that the 6300 doesn't have a slot to accept paper through the bottom of the unit. While we are on the subject, the 6300 uses friction feed to advance paper, though tractor and sheet feeders are available as optional attachments. Unlike many friction feed printers, the 6300 doesn't skew continuous fan-fold paper once it is inserted correctly.
Set up of the 6300 couldn't be less shows you how to use the printer via Basic commands and commercial software packages such as VisiCalc, WordStar, Multimate, Lotus 1-2-3, and Apple Writer II. This is the kind of attention to detail that is worth paying extra for.
Even though it has only 96 characters on its Diablo printwheel, the Juki 6300 has several different text modes. Selectable through the setting of DIP switches or via software are three pitches that provide from 10 to 15 characters per inch. The manual makes reference to a boldface mode, in which the printer strikes each character twice, but when using a single-strike film ribbon this has no noticeable effect. However, the shadow print mode advances the printhead one horizontal increment and then strikes the second character slightly to the right of the first impression, leaving what I consider a true boldface character.
It should be noted that the Juki 6300 has two main print modes: high and low quality. Although it is a bit slower, the high quality mode offers precise alignment and registration. Frankly, I find the difference between the two negligible, so I usually opt for the quicker low quality mode. The final text output features available through the use of escape sequences are sub- and superscript characters (see sample printout).
In the first paragraph of this review I said that the Juki 6300 has limited graphics capabilities. For those of you who read with disbelief, here is the explanation. As far as the manufacturer is concerned, the fact that the Juki 6300 has precise paper handling (1/96 inch minimum) capabilities allows it to be used to create graphics, presumably with the period character. As far as the typical user is concerned, without the custom software required to use the 6300 in this fashion, you can forget about getting graphics on a daisywheel printer.
The 6300 is designed for small to medium size businesses, and is overkill (i.e., expensive) for home applications. However, if you are looking for a dependable (backed by 90-day warranty) daisywheel printer that is both fast and relatively quiet, an introduction to the Juki 6300 could end your search. Its sleek good looks will get it through the front door, and its impressive personality will make it a welcome member of the family.
Products: Juki 6300 (computer printer)