If a consumer All-in-One combines a colour inkjet printer and a scanner, a business All-in-One should combine a colour laser printer and a scanner. Until recently, though, the best you could do was a mono laser. Epson is changing all that with the AcuLaser CX11N, the first in a new range of multifunction devices, this one based on the company’s C1100 colour laser engine.
It’s a fairly substantial machine, certainly one you don't want to move around on your own. Although Epson has tried to integrate the two main components, it still looks like a colour laser printer with a colour flatbed scanner bracketed above. It makes the complete device pretty tall and placed on a desk, the scanner could be awkwardly high for shorter people to use. Better to invest in a printer trolley.
The control panel set into the front edge of the device has a well configured, five-line, back-lit LCD display, which is accompanied by a ring of menu controls, a number pad and separate buttons to start mono and colour jobs and to cancel running ones.
At the bottom of the front panel, a cover hinges down to reveal a 180-sheet paper tray, though this doesn't pull out in the usual way. Instead, you lay the paper between the guides and slide it into the machine. Unusually, there’s no multi-purpose tray for feeding special media, though a secondary, 500-sheet tray is available as an option.
The scanner section is a conventional 600dpi flatbed, with no separate controls, other than a lock to prevent damage in transit. At the back are sockets for USB 2.0 and network connection, as by default the device is network-enabled.
Installation and maintenance is a bit fiddly, as you need to open both front and top panels and remove a series of covers for the four toner transfer rollers on the carousel. Toner cartridges slide in through the front, while the photo conductor drum slides in diagonally from the top. Since the scanner sits down quite tightly over the top of the printer, Epson has thoughtfully hinged it, so it can be folded up vertically, out of the way.
There’s a good range of bundled software, from Epson’s Creativity Suite to Presto! Page Manager and the print driver has been redesigned to offer good print support, including watermarks, image zoom and page imposition.
The AcuLaser CX11N uses a carousel-based laser engine, which means each of the four primary colours: cyan, yellow, magenta and black, is laid onto the page in turn, by rotating a carousel of toner cartridges. The technology is relatively compact, but theoretically should take four times as long to print a colour page as a linear engine, where all four cartridges sit in line.