The driver includes most of the usual facilities, such as watermarking for under printing ‘Confidential’ or whatever, but there’s no specific control of colour or attempts at colour matching, here. You have to rely on your application software for colour adjustments.
The received wisdom is that a colour laser printer which uses a carousel is inherently slower than one with four separate, photo-sensitive drums and toner units. It stands to reason that the time taken to turn the carousel and apply each colour individually will be longer than making up all four colour images on separate drums and applying them all to the paper in one pass.
In this case, however, reason goes out of the window, as the Aculaser C1100 is one of the quickest colour lasers we’ve tested. It completed our five-page, black text print in just 24 seconds, giving a true page rate of 12.5 pages per minute. The mixed text and graphics page took just 18 seconds and our 5 x 3 inch photo took only a second longer. Compare that with other recently reviewed colour lasers, OKI’s C3100 (25 seconds) and the Samsung CLP-550 (29 seconds). The Acculaser is over 20 per cent faster, even though neither of the other printers are carousel-based.
The quality of the prints produced is generally good. Black text print is particularly clear and clean-cut, with even finely drawn fonts reproduced accurately and in good proportion. Colour graphics are also above-average, though we did see some variation in large areas of solid colour. Photo reproduction was a little over vivid, with faint banding, but the detail quality in the foreground was good and graduated tint, as in areas of sky, was reasonably smooth.
The only consumables are the photoconductor unit, which has a service life of 42,000 black pages or 10,500 in colour, and toner. Black toner comes in a 7,000 page cartridge, with each of the colours available in standard (5,000) or high (7,000) capacities.
Do the figures and you come up with a cost per five per cent black page of 2.04p, with 8.17p for 20 per cent colour. These costs are high in comparison with many of this printer’s competitors and we also found it hard to find stockists of toner and drum, so there may be less price competition. A company the size of Epson isn’t going to let you run out of consumables, but you might have to pay a bit more for them.
The Aculaser C1100 is a well put-together colour laser at a competitive asking price. As an extra incentive, if you buy one before 31st March, Epson will throw in a Stylus C66 ink-jet for free.