Xerox WorkCentre C2424
Xerox designed the WorkCentre C2424 as a multifunction printer that could handle the heavy work flow of a large office. At $2999, it costs three times as much as the other two color laser MFPs tested here; but for the money you get more features, more flexibility, and more network functionality than the others offer.
Installing the WorkCentre on a server-based network was quick and straightforward. First I hooked the C2424 to an ethernet hub and installed the software and drivers on a server running Windows Server 2003. After setting up the IP address, I could access the network management Web page, from which I could reach the drivers and easily install them on a client running Windows XP.
Xerox includes excellent Web-based network management tools on its server, including an alphabetized index and links to all of the functions. Its Web pages provide information about the paper trays, the output tray, page count, supplies status, and routine maintenance. You can also retrieve detailed records of various jobs, print a configuration page, set up scan configuration, and save user profiles. The unit's general system management exists in public folders, but you can configure the Web pages as either public or private folders, setting up passwords and assigning administrative tasks to a folder accessible to authorized users only. You can also do troubleshooting, retrieve diagnostic logs, and view a comprehensive guide offering tips on how to boost print quality and resolve printing issues.
The C2424's biggest weakness is its print quality. This model uses a solid-ink system instead of toner, and it produced somewhat grainy and muted prints. In particular, the C2424 produced thick text with slightly jagged edges; and narrow parallel lines were a mess of overlapping light and dark sections. The test grayscale image had fairly good contrast, but it was so grainy that its otherwise smooth transitions appeared choppy. Color graphics looked muted and colors were off--for instance, the slightly orange skin tones made people look like they were suffering from heat exhaustion.
Scanned output received slightly higher scores than print output. A scanned and then printed Word document had jagged, bleeding letters; but a printed test image showed good color and skin tones, and reproduced detail fairly well. When viewed on-screen, the test image scored even higher, with brighter colors and more-accurate details than the competition could manage. When scanning from the console, you can choose whether to send your scan to the server or to the client. Once scanned, the image appears in the Xerox Scan Utility, and you can open it in a particular application or save it anywhere on the system.
You can copy from a button on the console; reduce or enlarge; lighten or darken; set the number of copies; and choose from such copy options as create booklet, copy from multiple pages onto a single page, and include blank separators. Unfortunately, the unit's copy output was no better than its print output. The C2424 ranked at the bottom of the list for copy quality, copying a page of text so lightly that thicker letters didn't print completely. It copied the page in 4.1 seconds (about average for the MFPs tested for our July 2005 issue roundup).
A multiple-feature print driver provides an option for notifying you when your job is complete, settings for secure printing, and a troubleshooting section highlighted by PrintingScout, a tool that alerts you if any issues arise in your print job before you send it. The standard configuration has two paper trays with a total capacity of 625 sheets, and you can add two more paper trays (at $400 apiece), for a maximum of 1675 sheets.
The WorkCentre C2424 is a full-featured multifunction printer that can handle the traffic of a big office, but it produces mediocre output.
Xerox WorkCentre C2424
Full-featured multifunction printer can handle the traffic of a big office, but it produces mediocre output.
- Can handle the traffic of a big office
- Excellent Web-based network tools
- Produced thick text with jagged edges
- Color graphics output looked muted