In fact, the device produced very respectable print times, with our five page text document completing in 23 seconds (13ppm) and the mixed text and graphics taking just 18 seconds. Even the 10 x 15cm photo only took 19 seconds (3ppm). Although these times are all based on the printer being awake (it takes between 10 and 20 seconds to wake from sleep mode for a first job), they prove that a carousel-based colour laser isn’t necessarily slow.
Print quality is also high. Black text is crisp and dense and business graphics are vivid, with few signs of banding or other artefacts. Even colour photos, not most laser printers’ forté, are well reproduced with a high level of detail. Although the colour gamut available for toner is still some way off that for ink-jet, the images available from this device would be more than adequate for marketing, say, houses or cars.
There are two types of consumable in the CX11N, with 4,000 page independent high-capacity toner cartridges for the four colours and a separate photo conductor unit, rated at 42,000 black pages. This usage drops to 10,500 pages when printing colour, though, so you could be servicing the device quite regularly, if you use it as a workgroup resource.
We calculate a five per cent black page cost of just under 2p per print, with a 20 per cent colour page coming in at 8.17p. This is competitive for black print and a touch better than the HP equivalent on colour.
You may wonder why this machine, which uses all the same consumables as the AcuLaser C1100 reviewed earlier this year, has lower running costs. It’s because we’ve located a cheaper source for both toner cartridges and photoconductor unit, at www.morecomputers.co.uk.
The AcuLaser CX11N is a good, first venture into the small-business, colour multifunction device market. It's quick, produces high-quality colour images, including more than passable photographs, and is very versatile. You'd be lucky to find a dedicated colour photocopier for the price of this far more flexible solution.