Xerox VersaLink C400DN review

A feature-rich and affordable A4 laser with superb colour quality, tough security and an app for every occasion

Price
£286
  • Excellent print speeds and quality; Great range of apps; Generous warranty
  • Slightly noisy

Xerox' ConnectKey is designed to make its VersaLink printers smarter and more secure and the new C400 brings this technology firmly within the budgets of SMBs. This affordable A4 colour laser comes ConnectKey-ready, allowing you to customize its capabilities with a wide range of freely available apps.

You'll see this in action on first power up as the 5in colour touchscreen reveals four pre-installed ConnectKey apps. These provide easy access to printer settings, job status and printing from USB devices but the one of most interest is App Gallery.

Tap on this and you can create a cloud account, browse available apps and install them with a couple of finger jabs. We also accessed our account from a browser and installed apps directly to the printer over the LAN.

Many are aimed at Xerox' MFPs but there are still loads for the C400 to play with and its big 2GB of memory means there's plenty of room for them. We installed apps for Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive in two minutes, accessed them easily accessed from the touchscreen, viewed cloud stored files and chose ones to print.

The @PrintByXerox app prints attachments emailed to the printer and although it isn't as easy to set up as HP's Connected service, it is more secure. We sent an initial email to the 'print@printbyxerox.com' address after which Xerox notified us it had created a new account.

We then used Gmail to send messages to the Xerox email address. Next, we logged in to the app at the printer's panel using our new account, reviewed received emails and chose those we wanted to print.

Xerox' Mobile Cloud Print portal is another handy tool, although this isn't free and requires a discovery agent service loaded on a PC on the same network as the printer. The portal enforces strict remote access controls and allows users to email documents directly to the printer using a customized address.

We reviewed the duplex Gigabit-enabled model but 11n wireless can be added in a jiffy with a little dongle that slots in at the rear. At only 46, it's great value and the C400 also allows wired and wireless networks to be active simultaneously.

Print security is good and includes local and LDAP user authentication, print and hold and PIN secured prints. For 155, the Productivity Kit encrypted hard disk offers an immediate overwrite feature for securely erasing sensitive documents once they've been printed.

The C400 delivers on its speed promises, with a 35-page Word document printed in 1 minute and a time to first page of around 11 seconds. Our 24-page colour DTP document was also dished out at 35ppm on both standard and enhanced driver settings.

It's a nifty duplexer too, with the 35-page test document delivered double-sided at 25ppm. The C400 is a little noisy though; the SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad recording a 61dB average at one metre during printing.

Print quality is outstanding with razor sharp text and no hint of dusting, even on cheap 75gms paper. Mono photos exhibited remarkably high levels of details in darker areas, although there's little appreciable difference between standard and enhanced modes.

Colour photos were stunning - the C400 delivered high levels of detail, excellent colour balance and eye-wateringly vivid blues. Transitions across complex colour fades were super smooth with barely a hint of banding in large areas of solid colour. Xerox offers standard, high and extra-high yield cartridges, with the latter offering low print costs of only 1.1p for a mono page and 7.4p for a colour one.

The VersaLink C400 is a great choice for SMBs that want top-notch colour quality, good print speeds and plenty of mobile and cloud printing options. The clincher is Xerox' lifetime on-site warranty offer - buy a full toner pack in the last 60 days of the yearly warranty and Xerox will keep extending it every year for the life of the printer.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 276

Verdict

The VersaLink C400 is a great choice for SMBs that want top-notch colour quality, good print speeds and plenty of mobile and cloud printing options.

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