Xerox C235 Colour Multifunction Printer

That companies still print so much is indicative of a strata of senior managers who pre-date the internet and never adapted to the changes that wrought.

That said, for numerous good reasons on occasion trees need to be sacrificed to the gods of distributed paperwork, and the Xerox C235 is built to perform that ceremony.

Costing only £291.60, this is one of the cheapest all-in-one colour lasers in the market place, and is bound to attract any small business wanting better quality output to replace an existing inkjet solution.

If this the multi-functional workhorse that could occupy the central position in your office, or is it a money pit that doesn’t deserve a decent toner budget?

Xerox C235 MFP Colour Laser Printer

(Image credit: Xerox Corporation)

Design and build

Xerox has two versions of this machine, the pure printer-only C230 and the multifunction variant reviewed here, the C235.

Given a choice between them, we’d go for the C235, as it doesn’t cost much more than the C230 and is enhanced in several useful ways.

Permanently attached to the top of the printer hardware is a scanner and paper feeding mechanism that allows the C235 to operate as a scanner, copier, and fax. And, with the same comprehensive networking capability, it can be accessed over USB, Ethernet, WiFi or using a direct wireless protocol.

What it doesn’t offer is any multi-stationary capability, using a single 250-sheet tray on the bottom or manual feeding at the front. That would be an issue for those that use headed stationary, but the logic of this printer is that you would print logos on plain stock when and as required.

A massive improvement over the C230 design is the touch-sensitive panel 7.2cm (2.8 inches) colour touch display on the upper left of the printer. It’s big enough to have a reasonable amount of information on it, and touch input is often better than buttons.

Xerox C235 Colour Multifunction Printer

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Another improvement over its smaller sibling is having twice the memory, 512MB and not the 256MB, that the C230 got. That’s still not a massive amount of internal memory, but with 512MB, this should be able to ingest larger networked documents sent to it more easily.

Like most colour laser printers, the C235 has four toner cartridges, each married with an independent drum, arranged in a slide-out rack.

Xerox has used the typical ‘starter’ cartridge mentality on this printer, where what you get to begin with is designed to last a very short time before you need replacements. Each time a cartridge is used, even for a tiny amount, the system ticks off a ‘page’, and these starter versions are only rated for 500 pages.

Xerox C235 Colour Multifunction Printer

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Out of curiosity, we switched the toner between our C230 and C235 models and discovered that the page counting is entirely a printer function and isn’t stored on the cartridges. Therefore, moving them to another printer will effectively reset the counter if doing that has any value.

If you only use colour sparingly, you might find that those last much longer than the black cart, but what printing lifespan you get will be very dependent on coverage per page.

Replacement is very easy, and Xerox recommends a monthly print volume of 1,500 pages (the size of a standard toner cartridge) and a maximum duty cycle of up to 30,000 images/month.

That monthly print volume is the equivalent of spending as much on toner each month as the cost of the printer, disturbingly.

Features and specifications

Spec Sheet

Here are the full specs of the Xerox C235:

Type: Colour laser printer
Connectivity: Ethernet, WiFi, WiFi Direct, USB
Data storage slot: USB
Print speed: 22 ppm B&W, 22 ppm Colour
Main paper tray capacity: 250 sheets
Print quality: 600 x 600 dpi
Scan/copy quality: 600 x 600 dpi
Apple AirPrint: yes
Google Cloud Print: yes
App support: Yes, Xerox Print Portal
Consumables included: Four starter toner cartridges (500 pages for each colour)
Dimensions/Weight: 344.4 x 411.2 x 394.1 mm (HxWxD)/19.4kg

This design has two features that stand out from the standard functions that every laser printer offers.

The one that it shares with the C230 is that it can print on both sides of the paper, a trick it performs by almost spitting out the paper after the first side is rendered and then dragging it back in for a second pass.

This operation does reduce the print speed overall, but it saves on paper, and if you are distributing large manuscripts, it might also reduce postage costs.

Its other special abilities are the scanner and its associated document sheet feeder, enabling you to copy, scan or fax multi-page documents without repetitive manual intervention.

That some are still using fax more than twenty years into this century might seem perverse to many, but oddly in some businesses, communicating in this fashion is a legal requirement.

All scanning and copies are done at the maximum print resolution of 600dpi, and scans can be sent to Email, FTP, a front-side connected USB drive, the Network or USB connected computer or a Windows Network folder. Scan file formats include JPEG, non-searchable PDF and TIFF, making an associated OCR application a requirement for those that want to index the contents of those scans afterwards.

Xerox C235 Colour Multifunction Printer

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

As a Fax, the C235 can operate both for sending and receiving, although it doesn’t have the ability to connect to a phone. And therefore, you can’t easily repurpose the connected landline for spoken communication.

Where this design impresses is in respect of its business security model, which allows prints to be held at the printer, all print activity to be logged and numerous other management controls. These are the network features that we’d expect in a £500 or more printer, and not one at this price.

Setup and operation

We had much fewer issues with the C235 than we’d experienced with its C230 brother in that the default configuration didn’t throw incomprehensible service error numbers at us.

And, with the touch display being able to present a complete keyboard, if a small one, putting the wireless network code in was also much less aggravating.

Alternatively, you can make configuration even easier on both printers if you connect it to the network with a cable temporarily and access the web interface using a computer.

A potential issue with this design is that it utilises a new toner module common only to it and its C230 brother. We couldn’t find any third-party toner for these printers, making Xerox official toner the only source.

As you might expect with such exclusivity, the cost of toner overshadows the initial cost of the machines and even exceeds that outlay if you choose high capacity cartridges.

The UK inclusive of VAT pricing for toner is £63.22 for black, £73.01 for each of the three colours for the standard 1,500-page capability. High-capacity cartridges are available, with the 3,000-page black toner being £92.59, and each of the 2,500-page colours costing £102.38.

Adding those numbers up a standard capacity set costs £282.25, and the high-capacity versions cost a depressingly high £399.73.

Even at this price, the high capacity cartridges have better economics, but not at a level anyone might describe as cheap.

Xerox C235 Colour Multifunction Printer

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

That places the B&W printing at 3-4p, depending on the cartridge size used, and the colour is 4-5p, based on 15% coverage. The C235 wasn’t meant for printing the total coverage of photos or copies of magazine pages, which could easily cost 35-40p a page.

Alongside toner, every 15,000 pages, a waste toner bottle replacement is needed that costs £14.24.

As with the C230, this is a price per page that points the C235 towards those who occasionally print, maybe a few pages each day.

One other aspect that fits this section is the location of the output bin under the scanning platform. You can lift the platform to more easily access the output, but it isn’t as easy to reach as on the C230. And if you print A5, you’ll be forced to do that to retrieve the output.

Xerox C235 MFP Colour Laser Printer

(Image credit: Xerox Corporation)

Performance

As we determined with the C230, considering that it only prints at a modest 600dpi, the results from the C235 are very serviceable. The inclusion of the drum in each of the cartridges might have a negative impact on their price, but it also eliminates the banding that other colour lasers suffer, and it produces very clean and readable prints.

Adhering to BS4800, a British standard created for the decorating industry, colours are accurate enough to match paints, and the gamut is very well balanced.

We’re unconvinced that you would want to print photographs using the C235, mostly because of the price per print, but in small runs, it would work.

Xerox C235 MFP Colour Laser Printer

(Image credit: Xerox Corporation)

The stock it can handle includes plain paper, light paper, heavy paper, card stock, paper labels, envelopes, coloured paper, letterhead, pre-printed, bond, glossy, rough/cotton and recycled.

The quoted stock weight is from 60gsm to 176gsm, allowing for a good range of specialist papers to be sent through. It would be a reasonable assumption that these weights are also a good guide for what the document feeder can handle, and if you have pages that are heavier, the scanning bed can be used in manual mode.

Xerox claims a print speed of 22ppm, and we think that number is higher than what is normally experienced. If the machine is sleeping, it can take a good minute to warm up before it is ready to print, and selecting double-sided output slows it down.

But given the 1,500 pages per month profile or 75 pages per working day, breakneck speed might not be that important.

Overall, print quality is good, colour is reasonably accurate, and print speed isn’t painfully slow.

Final verdict

Xerox C235 MFP Colour Laser Printer

(Image credit: Xerox Corporation)

The C235 is a vast improvement over the printer-only C230 design, but it still shares some of the same pitfalls of that machine. These include a relatively high cost of print per page, even for B&W output, and a new toner module design that isn’t yet being offered by third-party toner makers.

When we researched this hardware, we discovered that Lexmark has what appears to be an identical design in the Lexmark CX331adwe. We’ve asked questions of both parties, but at this time, we’re unsure if this is a Lexmark, Xerox design or the design of entirely another company.

What we did notice on the Lexmark product was that they offer 4,500 sheet toner packs for their version, where Xerox only has a maximum 3,000-page yield on its high yield cartridges. If these machines are the same, and unfortunately, we can’t confirm that they are, that might prove to be very useful information when you come to need more toner. And, given that the starter toner packs only include 500 pages, you'll need replacements within weeks of buying this printer.

If the volume of print is low enough that cost isn’t an issue, and you are happy with the generally good print quality of this unit, the only thing stopping us from recommending this printer to you is Xerox’s comically bad customer support.

From our experience accessing the Xerox network when we had an issue with the C230, Xerox is a company that decided supporting its products costs too much and put in place a solution to convince anyone accessing the support line to solve their own issues.

A quick trip to Trustpilot or other service review portals reveals what a short-sighted plan that was, as a small army of customers have already vented their frustration at the lack of meaningful support on Xerox products.

If you are lucky, you won’t need to contact Xerox support, or you’ll find another customer willing to help you with a homegrown solution, as expecting any help from them is likely to end in frustration.

Overall, the C235 is a decent piece of hardware for low volume printing, scanning, copying and faxing, but it isn’t ideal if you need help from Xerox at any point or you fancy some cheap toner.

Post a Comment

0 Comments