Xerox quotes speeds of 20ppm for black and 16ppm for colour for the Phaser 6128MFP, but from our tests these are optimistic figures. Our 5-page black text document completed in 32 seconds, a speed of just 9.4ppm and although the 20-page print increased this to 12.9ppm, it’s still some way short of the claimed speed.
Things are quite similar with colour print, with our five-page black text and colour graphics document giving a slow 6.8ppm. Subjectively, the printer never seems to acknowledge any real urgency when printing and the ADF on the scanner gets well ahead of the printer, with all but the last page of a five-page copy job being scanned to memory before the first started to print.
A 15 x 10cm colour photo took 26 seconds to print in enhanced mode, but at least the image it produced was better than many. Colours are more realistic, with less of the exaggeration produced by the small palettes exhibited by many colour lasers. There's no sign of banding and detail from darker areas of the image is still visible.
Colours in business graphics are also well reproduced, bright but without shouting, and although there is some poor registration of black text over colour fills, results are generally better than average. This isn't true of colour copies, which look insipid and blotchy in places. Black text at the machine's maximum resolution of 600dpi is clean and well formed.
Noise levels, particularly when copying, are relatively high – we measured peaks of 63dBA – which is another reason it would be best not to position the printer on a desktop.
Despite there being separate toner cartridges and drums, Xerox only quotes toner as a consumable. Even so, running costs don't come out that low. At the cheapest price we could find for toners, black print of an ISO page costs 2.9p and an equivalent colour page costs 11.9p. Compared with the Samsung CLX-6220FX, this is around 0.5p more expensive on black and over 1.5p dearer on colour, though the Samsung machine is over £150 more expensive to buy.
There's plenty to like in the Xerox Phaser 6128MFP, from its secure print and the ability to keep printing black when the coloured toners have run out, to its easy-to-maintain design. However, there are some niggles, too. It's quite slow for a machine at this price and it's annoying there's no way to increase its paper capacity. While not expensive to run, there are rival machines whose consumables are cheaper and which offer automatic duplex print thrown into the mix.