Xerox specs the ColorQube 8700AS at 40ppm in draft mode and 20ppm in normal mode, in both black and colour print. This is extravagant, as we saw no more than 20ppm, even when printing our 5-page document in draft mode. In normal mode we saw 11.5ppm from our 5-page test, rising to 16.4ppm for the 20-page version. The 5-page black text and colour graphics test gave 9.7ppm.
None of these speeds is particularly impressive for a multifunction in this price bracket, especially when the quoted average duty cycle is between 1,000 and 6,000 pages per month, implying fairly heavy use.
A colour copy from the flatbed took 24s and a 5-page, black copy from the ADF took 31s. A 10-side duplex copy took 1:23 and a 15 x 10cm colour photo on A4 at best quality took 30s. All of these are more respectable speeds.
Print quality from the solid inks is very clean and sharp, with laser-like black text, even at very small point sizes. Colours are bright and dense, though dither patterns are noticeable from the 600dpi engine (2,400dpi enhanced). This is especially true with photos, where areas of changing colour show their dots more than they should. The printer is better for the primaries in business graphics.
The solid ink cartridges are available in packs of two (two or four for black) giving 4,200 pages colour and 4,500 or 9,000 black. The only other consumable is a cleaning roller, which has a service life of 30,000 pages. Together, these prices give a cost per page of 2.5p for black and 10.2p for colour, which is not particularly impressive, compared with something like the Kyocera Mita FS-C2526MFP, which gives 2.1p and 6.7p and has a lower initial price.
The Xerox ColorQube 8700AS is sold as an outright purchase device, with a cost of around £1,800, though currently with a £300 cashback offer from some suppliers. Its sibling product, the ColorQube 8900 is sold on contract with a higher purchase price, but with running costs as low as 1p per black page and 7p per colour one.
This is a good, workgroup workhorse, well designed and with useful extras, like full duplex copies, the large, easy-to-use touchscreen and even the little stapler. It's not as fast as Xerox thinks, and photo prints can be dotty. If you regularly print more than 3,000 pages per month, you may want to consider the contract version of the machine, rather than an outright purchase, which should give a lower TCO.