Epson AcuLaser C1100 review

Price when reviewed
Epson’s AcuLaser C1100 is a step up from the Kyocera FS-820 and Brother HL-2040 personal lasers. As a four-pass laser, the paper passes through the print process four times for colour pages, but black-and-white prints zip through in a single pass. So while it will churn out monochrome text documents at a swift rate of 25ppm, colour documents arrive at a more sedentary 5ppm.

Pages come out nearly flat, without the curling issues beleaguering the smaller Kyocera FS-820 and Brother HL-2040 printers. Print quality is of a high standard, and results look smart and professional. Blacks are especially well handled, looking solid without becoming shiny or glossy with reflected light. The C1100’s colour capability means there were no problems printing a spreadsheet over a yellow background, but text also remained legible over grey backgrounds. The grey was smooth and clean, with only a slight ghosting around black lines and text taking the edge off an otherwise excellent performance. Graphs and charts look neat and tidy, so professional reports will have the required impact.

When it came to printing images, the C1100 excelled for a laser. In mono photos there was the occasional hint of purple cast, but great contrast and detail made for impressive results, with no signs of banding. It turned out colour graphics to a similar high standard. Apart from being slightly muted overall, colours were pleasing and compared well to our source files. Again there was plenty of detail, and skin tones looked suitably natural. Although image printing isn’t a primary strength in lasers, the C1100 will let you add images to professional projects with confidence. It’s rather noisy at times though, and it can take a while to settle down again after a long print-run.

The C1100 doesn’t have a standard slide-out paper tray. Instead, you open the lower front door and place up to 180 sheets of paper on the platform inside. The smaller Kyocera and Brother printers hold 70 pages more, but there’s an optional 500-sheet cassette available that sits under the C1100, bringing the total to 680 pages. Connection is via USB 2 or parallel, with Ethernet networking available on the C1100N option. An automatic duplexer is also an option.

A small LCD screen and four buttons on the front of the printer provide quick access to common functions and information. The display gives quick access to printer status, including the total number of pages printed, toner levels and the remaining service life of the photoconductor unit, but some settings are only possible through the driver, such as paper handling and buffer allocation.

Mono printing is reasonably cheap: with the 4,000-capacity toner cartridge priced at £45, the cost per page is 1.62p. For colour prints, the cartridges cost £77 for each colour, giving a slightly expensive 8.43p per page.

One fact to note is the 67MHz processor – this led to a little delay when printing more complicated documents. The AcuLaser C1100 can also be noisy at times. However, it offers great print quality at a reasonable price. If you want the flexibility to cope with any kind of print-out, the C1100 will serve you well.

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