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Xerox B230 review: A value-conscious workhorse

A decent mono laser, especially for black text, but not a particularly great one

A photograph of the Xerox B230
Price
£116 exc VAT
  • Compact footprint
  • Speedy mono text performance
  • Wired and wireless networking as standard
  • Affordable
  • Underwhelming graphics performance

If you’re looking for a compact mono laser to serve a home office or small workgroup, you may want to add Xerox’s B230 to your shopping list. While it’s still big and bulky compared to sleeker inkjet models like the Canon Pixma TS6250, this machine is actually reasonably petite for a laser printer, weighing in at just 6.8kg with a 355 x 333mm footprint. As with almost all lasers, however, the design is uninspiring to say the least.

Rated at 34 pages per minute (ppm), the device is well equipped: it includes wired and wireless networking as standard, plus a useful two-line mono display. This isn’t as versatile as the large, full-colour touchscreens used by the likes of the Canon MAXIFY GX70505 - but then again, that’s less of an issue considering there aren’t as many features to manage. As a mono laser, the B230 is very much a one-trick pony; there’s no scanning or copying facility, no fax, and no colour graphics or photos.

This printer’s 250-sheet cassette is supplemented by a single-sheet slot. Once loaded with A4 paper, the tray pokes slightly out of its rear panel, but fortunately there’s a flap to keep dust off. During setup, Xerox’s software failed if we chose the recommended Type 4 Print System. We couldn’t divine why this might be, but fortunately it wasn’t a significant issue, as the alternative Type 3 Print System worked perfectly adequately.

It’s clear from the minute or so it takes to boot that this printer has reasonable brains behind it – it’s loading a full-on operating system, rather than relying on simple logic - but our results suggest it would benefit from a faster processor. While it danced through our 25-page text test at a sprightly 27.3ppm, it hesitated between some pages in our graphical test, slowing it down to a less impressive 20.6ppm. At 11.8 images per minute (ipm) it was fast enough at duplex-printing graphics.

While this printer is quick for a typical small or home office, you might be more put off by the B230’s slight clatter during printing and its underwhelming print quality. Black text was near perfect, but mono graphics suffered from more banding than we’d expect at this price. It’s also a shame that the B230 has no front USB port to support direct printing.

The B230 arrives with a 1,200-page starter toner and a drum rated for 12,000 pages. If you never need to replace the latter, you’ll pay 2p per page to keep printing. Factor in the drum, and ongoing print costs rise to 2.4p per page which, while hardly excessive, are a penny or more off the best. 

If you can live without Wi-Fi, we’d recommend paying a little more for the £200 exc VAT Oki B432dn, which includes a three-year warranty (as opposed to Xerox’s one-year onsite warranty), faster speeds, better print quality and lower running costs. With that being said, however, the Xerox B230 is one of the most affordable lasers out there - and if all you need is a workhorse to chew through reams of black-and-white text documents, it’s an excellent value option.

Xerox B230 specifications

Format

600 x 600dpi A4 mono laser printer

Print speed

27.3ppi

Display

Two-line mono LCD

Networking

Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi

Connectivity

USB

Print type

Duplex

Tray size

250-sheet cassette

Recommended monthly duty cycle

30,000 (max)

Dimensions

355 x 333 x 215mm

Weight

6.8kg

Warranty

1yr onsite

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