Xerox C235dw review: Laser precision
Want a great colour laser all-rounder? So long as you don’t need a fax, Xerox’s C235dw is a clear winner
If you’re setting up a home or small office, you’ll need a printer or MFP that handles everything you can throw at it. Provided that doesn’t include faxing, Xerox’s C235dw fits the bill. It’s a compact colour laser multifunction capable of 22ppm printing in black or colour.
This is a well-specified MFP. In its base there’s a 250-sheet cassette, supplemented by a single-page bypass slot. On top you’ll find a 50-sheet ADF - although this doesn’t support duplex scans - and at the back you’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet port. There’s Wi-Fi connectivity, too, so it’s easy to share among users. A large 7.1cm colour touchscreen makes it simple to configure and control, and there’s a USB host port supporting both printing and scanning.
It’s a simple device to set up, although it’s not without its foibles. As with Xerox’s B230, the setup program couldn’t install the Type 4 Print System driver, but we happily settled for the Type 3 Print System without issues. Red tape alerts you to a large plastic sheet you need to remove before printing, but it’s easy to miss the four plastic ring pulls on the print cartridges themselves.
The C235dw delivered black text at 19.2ppm which, as our test includes the time taken to spool and send the job, is pretty close to the claimed 22ppm. That’s not particularly quick by laser printer standards, but fast enough for a small office with moderate printing needs. We can’t be quite as forgiving about the printer’s 13.1ppm in our mixed colour graphics test: while this is a demanding job, comprising a mix of magazine graphics, presentation slides and web pages, we’d expect slightly faster performance at this price. The same goes for this printer’s 7.4 images per minute (ipm) on our colour graphics duplex test: decent, but not great.
It’s hard to find fault with the quality of the output, though. Text was as bold and faultless as we’d expect from a decent laser printer, but colour prints were far better than the average. Unlike Lexmark’s CS431dw – which appears to be based on the same internals – the C235dw delivered punchy, accurate colours across a range of jobs. And it’s quite a range, stretching from magazine pages to photographs covering landscapes, still-lifes and moon landings. Shade transitions were generally seamless, without showing up bands of distinct halftoning.
This printer’s quality isn’t quite beyond criticism, however. Skin tones in photos appeared slightly too warm, while mono photocopies were too dark at the default setting, leading to a loss of detail in some areas. Conversely, the C235dw struggled with some mid-tones in colour photocopies, failing to reproduce a full range of shades. Copies were fine for everyday use, though, and they appeared quickly. We timed a single mono A4 copy at 13 seconds, while ten sheets took 40 seconds using the ADF. In colour, the same tests took just 16 seconds and 45 seconds respectively.
This MFP’s scanner is limited to 600dpi, but that’s more than enough for the office-orientated work it’s designed for. Even over Wi-Fi it was about as fast as they come, capturing an A4 document at 150dpi in just six seconds. Scanning A4 at 300dpi only took a further second, while it captured a 6 x 4in photo at 600dpi in a mere 11 seconds.
Whether from the ADF or platen, documents were sharp and accurately exposed. The scanner struggled with darker areas, failing to distinguish the darkest six shades in our test pattern. Despite this, most photo scans were accurately exposed, with the scanner certainly good enough for occasional creative use. However, while Xerox’s TWAIN scan interface is easy to use, it doesn’t let you manually crop preview images. The preset list of scan areas includes all common paper sizes, but not 5 x 7in photo paper.
Our strongest criticism of the C235dw is that it arrives with paltry 500-page consumables. Replace them with 2,500-page “high-capacity” supplies and you’ll pay 2.4p per black page, and 9.4p in colour. That’s on the high side of average, but only becomes unreasonable if you print in high volume.
While these running costs dull its shine, the C235dw is still as good as colour laser MFPs get at this price. It will cost more to run than the most economical office inkjets, but it’s likely to make up for it with faster speeds and more professional-looking results. If you want laser quality and don’t mind paying for it, this is a great choice.
Xerox C235dw specifications
600 x 600dpi A4 laser MFP, 600 x 600dpi flastbed A4 scanner
7.1cm colour touchscreen
Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi
Recommended monthly duty cycle
411 x 394 x 344mm
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