Epson AcuLaser C4200DN review

£530
Price when reviewed

Once upon a time, Epson was the king of colour printing, with its inkjets breaking boundaries every other month. But over the past few years, its crown has slipped.

The AcuLaser C4200DN doesn’t change that, but it’s not for a lack of trying. For £530, it manages to squeeze in a duplexer, a high-capacity 550-sheet input tray and flexible paper handling – taking paper from 60gsm all the way up to stiff 216gsm card.

It’s also cheap to run thanks to the excellent value of its black toner cartridges – a 10,000-page cartridge can be had online for just £35, making it one of the cheapest lasers to run.

But while the C4200DN can be pleasingly cost-effective, it can’t compete in terms of either quality or overall speed. It started out well in our timed tests, turning out 50 mono pages in a lighting-quick 1min 37secs, but as soon as you switch on the colour it slows significantly: our 50-page colour test took nearly a minute longer to complete.

The output quality of the C4200N also failed to impress us. Text at small sizes was a little smudgy and not easy to read. Photos and gradients were reproduced smoothly, and colours looked realistic, but this was undermined by lots of horizontal banding in photos and graphics.

The C4200DN’s web-based management server is a disappointment, too, not in terms of its features, but because it requires a proprietary Java plug-in to work. The whole point of embedding a web server in a printer is to make it simple to manage remotely from any computer, but you can’t do that here.

As a workhorse, the C4200DN isn’t a bad package: it’s cheap to buy and run, and respectably quick in mono. But if you’re looking for fast, high-quality colour prints, you’ll be disappointed.

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