Epson AcuLaser C1100 review
While the £200 Samsung CLP-510 crams in features worthy of a printer at a much higher price, Epson’s C1100 offers exactly what you’d expect at this level.
Its main strength is low running costs, which work out at just 1.2p per mono page and 6.7p for colour. These are only relevant if you buy Epson’s value pack of four toners; like its inkjet value packs, Epson’s toner pack cuts costs, but bear in mind that the C1100 only ships with enough toner for 1,500 pages initially. The image drum will last 42,000 mono pages, so if you only print 200 pages per month the running cost may fall even further to just 1p per page.
There isn’t much else to lift it from the crowd, though. Print speed overall is reasonable, the highlight being 25ppm in our mono speed test. But with a four-pass engine, a rate of 5ppm in colour is joint slowest. The AcuLaser was the fastest to print its first mono page from warm – just nine seconds – and also warmed up from cold in under 30. But it was also the only printer to take more than four minutes when printing our 23-page Word document.
A fast colour mode is available, which knocked ten seconds off the 31-second photomontage time, but quality was noticeably poorer. At the interpolated 2,400 RIT resolution, the level of detail was good, but skin tones appeared too red and in places skies were darker than they should have been.
But the C1100 produced a convincing composite black when printing in colour mode, even if graphics in our Excel test appeared a little lifeless compared to the vibrant Lexmark. To its credit, the Epson reproduced the pastel shades perfectly where vividness wasn’t required.
The standard paper tray only holds 180 sheets, but a 500-sheet tray is available for £145. A duplexer can also be added for £140, but if you need a network interface you should buy the C1100N, which costs £229. However, as it stands, the C1100 lacks the features to compete with the best. The single-line LCD offers only basic information, and the carousel cartridge mechanism makes it more awkward to swap out toner than with other models.
Overall, the C1100 is a reasonable colour laser, but it can’t stand up against the stiff competition from the Samsung, which is slightly cheaper to run, faster in colour and has a built-in duplex unit.