Fast, workgroup, colour laser printers still attract a price premium, but this 40ppm device from Xerox is available over the Internet for not much more than £750, which is quite a bit less than some of its competitors. Speed is not the only criterion, though, and you need to assess the full feature set.
This is a big printer, weighing in at over 35kg and bulging out at the front and top. It’s best suited to being mounted on its own stand and tucked away in the corner of an office, rather than taking up most of a desk. There are some unusual design choices, such as positioning the four colour toner cartridges under a translucent purple cover at the back of the machine's top panel. While this makes them supremely easy to replace, it's also an invitation to tampering.
The small, backlit LCD display shows up to six lines of small text, but this at least enables a comprehensive menu system. Next to the display is an archipelago of six buttons to navigate the menus.
A 550-sheet paper tray pulls out from the bottom of the machine and there are options for further 550-sheet and massive 1100-sheet trays. You can also add a hard drive for extra job buffering and a duplexer. Despite the printer’s substantial bulk, it’s a single-sided printer by default. There's a 150-sheet, multi-purpose tray which folds down from the front and all paper exits to the top surface of the printer.
At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet, though wireless networking is an option.
This is an in-line printer with a transfer belt sliding in from the top, once you've lifted two covers. It's also primarily a PostScript printer, with a full Level 3 Adobe interpreter on-board. In fact, installing the PCL 5c driver involves a visit to the Xerox site and offers quite a bit less in the way of colour control than the PostScript driver. Our speed tests suggest you should stick to PostScript, unless PCL 5 is essential to your work.
As well as the drivers, the only other software is the Xerox Support Centre, which is more an organiser for the printer's online documentation than anything else.
The in-line design means colour and black pages print at the same speed and our five-page text print completed in 18 seconds under PostScript and just a second quicker in PCL. The text and graphics print reversed the winning order, with PostScript taking 18 seconds again and PCL a second longer.