Xerox’s Work Centre 3210 pitches itself as the ideal print solution for small businesses with a small budget however its many design flaws make it an unattractive option.
The bog-standard, sub-€100 is a fine choice for home users while big companies can justify investing in more heavy-duty machinery if needs be. For those in the middle, however, the choice has been less obvious and compromise was often required.
The aim of Xerox and its Work Centre 3210 is to bridge this gap and provide small companies or heavy print-users with an option that will be cheap to buy and to maintain.
On first impressions the 3-in-1 printer does just that. It looks like a miniature photocopier and can be tucked away quite comfortably in the snuggest of corners. Its scanner and phone connection means it can work as a fax machine as well as a scanner, copier and printer and its ethernet connectivity allows it to be networked across a number of computers with ease.
The machine also uses a large ink cartridge, meaning supplies will last longer and theoretically cost less to replace.
However this is where the issues really begin. While it is a great advantage to have a large, long-lasting black cartridge to print from any benefit from this is counter-balanced by the fact that the 3210 does not have any colour printing capabilities at all.
What is more the 3210 uses this ink in the same kind of printing technique – known as Xerography – as a standard photocopier. This allows for much faster printing and copying than ink-jet machines but also less reliable prints with more chance of the page ‘streaking’ even on a full cartridge.
The result is that small print jobs are done in seconds but larger ones may need to be repeated as the cartridge struggles to print properly the more it does in one go.
The physical design of the machine is also not suited to large print jobs, unless you are willing to stand by it as it works. The paper ‘out’ tray at the front of the machine is quite shallow and can only really store a few pages before becoming full. This means that after 15 or so pages are printed, the machine stops working until they are removed – assuming another page has not jammed inside it as a result of the obstruction.
With pages not printing properly and paper jams happening far too easily it is hard to see how the 3210 would make a workplace printing any more convenient than its rivals. There are a few nice features to it – like the ‘ID card copy’ button and front-facing USB connection for printing from external devices – but they are not enough to make up for the significant failings that exist in the core functions of the machine.
Ideal users of this device would be looking to do small print jobs with no colour and in reality that will not suit many.