Setting up the ColorQube 8900
The ColorQube 8900 is a behemoth so you will need two people to get it out of the box and on to the desk or table of your choosing. Surprisingly, despite its weight, it did manage to fit on one of our front desks but it’s certainly not going to fit on the average size cubicle desk.
Xerox includes a hard copy installation guide that takes users through the basic installation steps: unpack printer, load paper tray, choose a connection, connect fax line and connect power.
Once the printer is powered on, it will take you through some on screen setup: choose language, time, date, etc. Then the printer will prepare itself and the final step will be to add the ink included.
When this is finished, pop in the provided CD and wizard will install the drivers on your computer. There are two separate drivers to be installed – print and scan. The installation took over 30 minutes for me with just the basics but could take longer depending on how much you setup during the initial installation (email, additional shortcuts, etc.).
Ease of Use
The ColorQube 8900 is focused on medium sized businesses and smaller workgroups in large companies so it offer a bunch of features designed to make life easier on the employee but it also offers administrators a simple way to regulate the use of the printer saving businesses money while boosting security.
As a standalone device, the large 7-inch color touch screen is incredibly easy to navigate with large, easy to read icons and simple instructions. Users can customize the screen with a variety of solutions offered on Xerox’s website. Some are free and some will need to be purchased for an additional cost but you’ll have a few default solutions including copy, fax and work flow scanning as well as email (needs to be set up by administrator), ID card copy and a Print From solution.
The front side USB port offers users a second way to use the ColorQube 8900 as a standalone device because you can scan-to or print from the device. You can also adjust the eco settings and assign customers an id number (or use the card swipe) to access certain functionalities.
You’ll have besides the standard copy, scan and fax on the flatbed, you’ll also have access to 50-sheet duplexing automatic document feeder which was excellent. I’ve gotten so accustomed to using the ADF on multifunction printers that I barely use the flatbed and when the ADF can print double-sided documents, I’m in copying/scanning/faxing heaven.
You’ll find the bypass tray on the left side, I tested it with envelopes but it could also be used for labels, transparencies, or any other special media you wouldn’t just throw in the paper tray.
There was not much software to speak of with the ColorQube 8900 but what they do include is more than enough for the average user. You can access settings, status updates, secure print and the usual stuff as well as special software including Color by Words, Earth Smart and Smart eSolutions through the print properties menu and the Centreware Internet Services.
The great thing about Centreware is that you can print from any computer in your office if you know the ColorQube 8900 IP address, even if that computer doesn’t have the drivers installed.
Print Speed and Quality
During our print tests, the ColorQube 8900 printed two copies of our 40-page black and white text document in under two minutes with a first page out in about 6 seconds and an average print speed of 44 ppm. I saw no difference in print speeds when we switched to color tests.
The automatic duplexing feature is one of the highlights of this model thanks to the 50-sheet duplexing automatic document feeder and the ColorQube 8900 does a nice job of printing double-side documents. The average print speed in duplexing was 9 ppm (18 pages).
The black and white print quality is bold and crisp and you won’t find any noticeable difference between the ColorQube 8900 and the laser-class competition. The color print quality was excellent with glossy color and good detail that you wouldn’t find on the laser-class competition. It also looks great on all different types of media, including ordinary copy paper.
One of the main things I did notice about the ColorQube 8900 was that it’s fairly loud when printing. Most of my colleagues made a comment about the noise level despite being used to the sound of printers.