Xerox's Solid Ink Technology, inherited from its purchase of Tektronics some years back, hasn't been killed off in favour of its own colour laser expertise, but runs in parallel, within its Phaser range of printers. Confusingly, not all the printer's called Phasers are Solid Ink machines, but the 8560MFP/N certainly is and is configured as a multifunction printer, with a large flatbed scanner fitted on top.
This is not one of your smooth, sleek office printers, but has bits sticking out in most directions. The flatbed scanner on top is a lot bigger than you might expect, largely because it can take paper up to US legal size, a good 60mm longer than A4. The output tray overhangs at the front, too, with a smoked plastic surround stopping the paper flying onto the floor.
A100-sheet, multi-purpose tray folds down from the front and below this is a 525-sheet paper tray. Two optional trays of the same capacity can be fitted under the printer, as can a stand with casters to make the machine freestanding.
There's a large, complex-looking control panel at the front, but once you look at the options, they're all fairly obvious. Things like selecting colour or black-and-white print modes, document type, output quality and various ways of working with single and double-sided documents, though this version of the Phaser 8560MFP doesn't have a duplexer. All these are on the left of the control panel.
On the right is a number pad for dialling fax numbers and buttons to start and stop a copy job. In the centre are five mode buttons and a six-line, backlit LCD display for status and menu selection.
Physically, the printer is very simple to set up. Lift the scanner section and raise the ink loader. This is a four-column tray with holes at the higher end, like the baby toy where you - that is, the baby - fits different shaped blocks through corresponding holes. The solid ink really is solid and moulded so only the right colour stick (more of a cuboid block, really) goes through each hole. It needs a minimum of packaging, too, which is good environmentally. You can slot in up to five blocks in each column, and each block is good for around 2,300 ISO pages.
The software is reasonably easy to install, too, with both USB and network drivers. The Phaser 8560MFP/N can be made to interrogate your server automatically, to get itself an IP address.