Xerox Phaser 8560DN review

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  • Pros

    • Eco-friendly laser quality prints
    • Helpful web based software (Xerox CentreWare)
    • Easy setup
    • Easy to load ink, paper

  • Cons

    • Smells can be intense
    • Wastes ink when turned off
    • Average price over long run


Interested in reducing your office’s carbon footprint but still need laser quality printing to get business done?  The Xerox Phaser solid ink line could be the solution to your dilemma.

Read on for a full review of the Phaser 8560DN configuration below or check out our video first look.

Phaser 8560DN specifications

  • Print speeds: up to 30 ppm in black and color
  • Built-in duplexing
  • Network ready (Ethernet)
  • Workgroup: up to 20 people
  • Standard paper tray (625 sheets)
  • Maximum duty cycle: 85,000 pages
  • 600 MHz processor
  • 256 MB standard memory
  • Year warranty

BUILD AND DESIGN

The Phaser 8560DN has the basic Xerox design as you can see from our video first look below.   The machine itself takes up a decent amount of space; its dimensions are 16 x 21 x 14.5 inches but I managed to fit it on my desk before moving it downstairs.  Xerox recommends two people carrying it and that’s probably a good idea since it weighs 60 lbs.

There are two paper trays standard on the DN configuration; a large capacity tray that holds up to 625 sheets and a unique tray that flips down for special media and smaller jobs.

If you have paper jams, there is a pull down panel above the smaller tray where users can access the inside of the machine.

There is a small control panel on the right side of the display that consists of a cancel button, arrow keys, ok/enter button, back button and a help button.  These are mostly used to navigate menus on the printer. 

On the right side of the Phaser 8560DN is where the connections are concealed – power cord, USB/Ethernet ports and the power button. 

The right side is also home to the waste tray and the maintenance kit.

There are vents on the back and left side of the printer; you should consider the heat put off through these vents when deciding where to place the Phaser 8560DN.

You load the ink through the top of the printer.  The door slides open to reveal four uniquely shaped ink slots, one for each color (including black).  It is difficult to load the ink incorrectly on any of the Phaser solid ink units.

PERFORMANCE

Set up
Xerox recommends using the Phaser 8560DN over an Ethernet connection but the printer can but the printer can be used through a USB connection as well.

We’re on a DHCP network, in other words, our network automatically served an IP address to the 8560DN, making setup a breeze.  We plugged the machine in, attached the Ethernet cord to the printer and the network router and the Phaser did the rest. 

Each computer wanting to access the Phaser 8560DN will need to download the driver which is found on the CD-ROM or can be downloaded online.

And of course, users will need to load the solid ink sticks and paper but as I mentioned earlier, you won’t find an easier office printer for loading ink.

Ease of use
The Xerox CentreWare software (the CentreWare IS Embedded Web Server) used over the internet was excellent.  It gives anyone on the network real time information on the Phaser 8560DN; print status, page number of current job, how much ink is left, which paper trays are loaded and how much paper is in each, output tray level, total page count, etc.  Access the support center here; there are also tabs for properties and jobs. 

The real time information is great for larger offices where the printer isn’t in view.  Users will know when their jobs are done before they leave their computer and will also know if there is a problem such as a paper jam or ink shortage.

Users can also change settings, turn on duplexing or add watermarks by clicking properties on the print screen.

The Phaser 8560DN menu used on the unit is easy to navigate as well.  You can change print jobs, cancel print jobs, adjust media and get support.

I would recommend placing the 8560 in a room that is well ventilated.  While it doesn’t give off a ton of heat, it does put out an intense smell like large office printers can be known to do. 

Print tests
The Phaser printed my usual print trial (a typical 38 page black text Microsoft word document) at speed of 28 pages per minute on average.  A little slower than the 30 ppm Xerox claim, but not bad.  The solid ink print looked no different from a laser toner print; the quality and detail were what you would expect from a decent laser printer.

It also printed color excel documents where the page coverage was average – basically a mixture of color charts and graphs and black text – around the same print speed.  Normally, when testing printers, they lose speed when color is introduced into the equation but the Phaser managed to hold speeds.

But when printing large photo files, the Phaser 8560 did slow down.  We printed several 8×10 photos, pictured below, and got various print speeds based on the image size.

The hot air balloon is one of my favorite color print jobs because you get an idea of how the printer does with a whole array of colors.  Below are test shots from the Phaser in fast color mode (far left), enhanced color mode (center) and photo quality mode(far right). There is a huge difference between the fast and the enhanced color modes; the same can’t be said for enhanced and photo quality modes but there was a slight difference (hard to see because images were scanned).  Specs for the different quality shots are as follows: fast photo quality in about 1 minute 4 seconds, enhanced color quality in about 1 min. 18 secs., and photo quality in about 1 min. 34 secs (includes processing time).  I do want to reiterate that these were large photo files and that the slow down occurred during the processing time. Once the Phaser started printing it spit out the images quite fast, it just took a minute to start printing.


Phaser fast photo print, Phaser enhanced color print, Phaser Photo color print

As you can see, the better the quality and higher the coverage the longer the Phaser took to finish the job.  But also notice, below, how the enhanced photo quality print from the Phaser is only slightly inferior to the inkjet photo.  All three of the 8×10 hot air balloon photos printed by the Phaser are on standard copy paper, while the inkjet printed on special photo paper.


Phaser photo color quality vs. inkjet photo

During our media tests, we found the solid ink Phaser gave similar quality results on a host of different paper: copy, laser photo, envelopes and even sticker paper.  Below, there are two emoticon images on sticker paper; the left one if from the Phaser 8560DN and the right one is from our office inkjet.


Phaser emoticon on sticker paper, inkjet emoticon on sticker paper

When it came to our energy tests, the Phaser 8560DN stayed within the numbers Xerox reported.  On the site, Xerox claimed the 8560 uses about 90 watts (w) in normal mode, in stand-by mode the energy usage drops to 43 w.

We found that the 8560DN uses about 90 w of power while in normal mode (ready and waiting to print) but drops down to less than 20 w in stand-by mode.  We did notice obvious spikes in power use when printing (jumps to 160-220 w) and cleaning (up to 150 w).  The biggest use of power came when the 8560DN was initially turned on and warming up – we got readings up to 900 w.  Luckily the warm-up process takes less than 10 minutes.  But there is another reason to refrain from turning the machine off.

Over the long term (120 hours), our staff found that the Phaser 8560DN used 6.9 kWh (58 w per hour average) to print about 80 pages and stay warm enough to keep the ink from hardening and being dumped.

The overall quality of the prints from this solid ink printer is good, maybe even great in some instances, but there is one problem worth mentioning.  Some of the prints with higher page coverage can be scratched easily due to the wax-like ink; removing parts of the image as you can see from the sample below.   On the other hand, if you spill water on the image it won’t bleed thanks to the same wax-like ink texture (it is actually resin-based but I’m sure you get the idea).


Scratches affect the image on left page compared to the right page with no scratches

As for overall page yields per solid ink stick, the numbers were decent.  One stick of ink yields approximately 1,133 pages at 5% page coverage; a set of three (how Xerox packages solid ink) gives users about 3,400 pages. When combining the four inks, you will get similar amount of pages but with a higher page coverage – around 20% (these numbers were taken from Xerox’s Printer and Multifunction Consumable Yields PDF).

Users can purchase six sticks of black ink and three sticks of an individual color for $99 a set.  The sticks of ink are cheaper than many toner cartridges but often yield less – an average deal over the long run.

PROS

  • Eco-friendly laser quality prints
  • Helpful web based software (Xerox CentreWare)
  • Easy setup
  • Easy to load ink, paper

CONS

  • Smells can be intense
  • Wastes ink when turned off
  • Average price over long run

CONCLUSION

I really enjoyed the solid ink experience.  I like that the ink is eco-friendly, easy to use, and could qualify users for a free Phaser, thanks to Xerox’s FreeColorPrinters Program.

The print quality was good; the colors and overall picture quality were great compared to an inkjet or even some lasers on standard copy paper.  Print speeds and energy consumption were close to numbers given by Xerox (less common than you might think) and rival many laser printers on the market today.

However, there is no denying that there are cheaper laser printers that may be more cost-efficient over the long run (including other Xerox products).  The question is would they give you the same color quality prints a solid ink Phaser can give you – and just as important – do you need a high performance color machine to achieve your business goals?

If so, a solid ink printer, like the Phaser 8560DN, may be the way to go.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

The Xerox Phaser 8560DN configuration is available now on the Xerox website for $899, after an instant $100 savings.

Ink stick packs are sold in a variety of combos.  Get a four stick rainbow pack (one of each color plus black), six sticks of black or three sticks of an individual color (magenta, cyan and yellow) on the Xerox website or order the same supplies through the CentreWare web server under the status tab.


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