- ✓Affordable purchase price;
- ✓moderate running costs compared to inkjets;
- ✓good print quality with office applications.
- ✕Noisy when operating;
- ✕no control panel.
Epson's Aculaser C1000 is a colour laser printer that costs about £700 (ex. VAT) less than the more fully featured C2000 model. Many small offices, workgroups and enterprises will find this a solid and affordable entry into the colour laser market. The basic configuration with 16MB of on-board memory costs £899 (ex. VAT); we reviewed a model with 144MB, the extra 128MB costing just £37 (ex. VAT).
Out of the box, the first impression of the Aculaser C1000 is its hefty 39kg weight -- and that's without the optional £449 (ex. VAT) duplex unit. The C1000 is equipped with both USB and parallel ports, and can be set up for networked use if the optional £149 (ex. VAT) internal 10/100Base TX print server is fitted.
With its 55db(A) operating volume, the Aculaser C1000 isn't the quietest of laser printers. However, colour lasers are generally networked because of their size and capacity, and are therefore likely to be out of earshot for most workers.
The short warm-up phase after switching on the printer is immediately noticeable: the C1000 is ready to start after only 2.5 minutes. Epson claims that the throughput of the engine is five pages per minute (ppm) in colour mode and 20ppm in black and white mode.
In our tests, depending on the quality mode selected, the C1000 printed a 10-page text document in between 47 and 53 seconds (via a 650MHz Pentium III PC with 256MB of RAM). You don't have to wait too long for colour printouts, either: our four-page PageMaker test document emerged in around one and a half minutes, and a three-page PowerPoint presentation took a similar amount of time. These results apply to a C1000 fitted with 144MB of on-board memory.
The driver offers many settings and provides detailed information about the current status of consumables. Operating the printer must be accomplished via the driver, as the unit's control panel is minimalist -- there is only an LED, which indicates that the printer is working, or flashes to indicate that data is being received. As well as a 150-sheet multi-purpose tray, the C1000 has a 500-sheet input cassette. paper emerges face-down into a recess with a capacity of 500 sheets.
Each of the four colour toner cartridges is good for some 6,000 pages at the standard five percent coverage. The printer is rated for a maximum duty cycle of 35,000 pages per month.
As for print quality, the Epson is particularly strong when outputting text, graphics and presentations. Although the physical resolution is only 600 dots per inch (dpi), Epson's Fine Dot Control Technology and Aculaser Colour RITech deliver an effective 2,400dpi and smooth colour text and graphics respectively.
Despite the extensive driver settings, it's not so easy to get high-quality results with colour photos from the C1000. Certainly, you can't expect the vibrant colours and subtle shades characteristic of the better inkjet printers. Then again, the Aculaser C1000 is designed to handle office applications, not to be a DTP/graphic arts printer. Altogether, the printer does a solid job on everyday office printing jobs.
Epson's Aculaser C1000 cannot be described as a high-end colour laser. However, small/medium-sized companies or departments often require fast and cost-effective colour printing for presentations, brochures and the like. Inkjets are too slow for these applications, and their running costs are too high. Up to now, colour lasers have simply been too expensive to buy, although their running costs are relatively low.
Epson's Aculaser C1000 brings colour laser printing into the affordable price bracket - and there are enough options for this printer to grow as needed. It's by no means the fastest colour laser you can buy, but it does a solid job at a good price.