Xerox Color Cube fails the scratch test!

October 16, 2009

Xerox has been talking about their NEW Color Cube as if it was the second coming. There has also been a lot of negative feedback on the web about this product (some of it untrue – for instance I had heard early on that the Xerox Color Cube could NOT do PC faxing, but we had a customer tell us that this is no longer true, even though BLI said it was).

I have been dying to get my hands on some Color Cube sample output so I could see for myself what the hub-bub is all about. And today one of my sales guys came back with a full color sample. Honestly, I was not impressed by the quality. The Canon ImagePRESS series blow this output away. it is not even close.

This is my first hand account of what I see when I look at and handle a Color sample off of the Xerox Color Cube. First of all it feels cheap, waxy. I am the son of a butcher, so I know what wax paper feels like. It has a crayola crayon feel to it. When I LIGHTLY scratched it the colored wax came off with little effort. Can you imagine printing up a million dollar proposal and then putting it your bag to fly to another city only to find the not to gentle baggage handler on the airline damaged your delicate wax based proposal? I will stick to color prints that are a little more durable thank you very much!

After the Xerox Color Cube failed the scratch test, I figured I would fold it and see how it held up. One fold and the Wax based toner cracked. I now have a nice white line running through my full color print. We were also told (though I have not yet personally confirmed this) that you can not laminate these prints because the heat of the laminater will melt the wax based toner. That makes sense, but you should ask your Xerox rep if you can laminate the output form the Xerox Color Cube. And lastly I have been told that the Wax based toner does not like coated paper. The person I spoke to said the Wax does not stick well to coated paper. You should test this for yourself before you buy one.

So to recap the Xerox Color Cube is great (not), just so long as your don’t:

1) Scratch it

2) fold it

3) Laminate it

4) or try to put it on coated paper stock

Other than that the color is “just OK”. Truthfully, I think Xerox is trying to pull a fast one on all of us. This sure looks to me like the output of their old Phaser (wax based) Technology. I guess because Xerox owns this technology (and no one else seems interested in using it) that they feel it gives them something to talk about. Around here the Xerox sales force has clearly “drunk the kool aid” and our hyping this up as must have technology. Now that we are actually kicking the tires it seems like there is a lot more bad than good. but don’t take my word for it put it through the scratch test for yourself! Just make sure that you have something with you to clean the wax out from under your finger nails.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh



  1. Where are the hired guns (Xerox Bloggers) to dispute your real-world example of ColorQube output?

    • Hey Mr. Anonymous,

      Maybe Art Post’s Blog exposed this trend of Xerox hiring “professional” bloggers. Once people realize that your opinions are bought and paid for they don’t take you seriously.


  2. Hello Vince,

    I work on Xerox’s public relations team and want to clarify how we engaged Xerox employee bloggers for the ColorQube launch. We encourage employees to get involved in social media, but our corporate guidelines stress that transparency is key, and require they always identify themselves as Xerox employees when participating in a conversation on social media platforms for work-related purposes. One facet of our ColorQube launch strategy was to leverage our social-media savvy employees, providing the ColorQube resources in advance and enabling them to communicate it within their own social networks on Xerox’s behalf. Transparency and identifying themselves as employees was a requirement to participate.

    In addition, we had a team of Xerox experts at the ready to comment on news stories and blogs to clarify inaccuracies and misperceptions. Those experts, including Kevin Marks and Shell Haffner, always clearly identified themselves as Xerox employees, including when comments were made on Art Post’s blog. If any of the anonymous comments posted on blogs were made by Xerox employees, they were not encouraged and contradict our guidelines.

    I hope that clears things up. Feel free to contact me at lisa.weaver@xerox.com if you have any questions or would like to see our social media policy.



    Manager, Xerox Public Relations

  3. Lisa,

    If you or other Xerox folks want to write to this blog you would be welcome, but like you I do think that identifying the fact that you work for Xerox is important for transparency.


  4. Wow, XEROX is certainly monitoring the ‘chatter’ amongst Industry experts such as yourself.

  5. You can’t write on it either.

  6. Vince,
    I am a Xerox Tech and have serviced just about every color product Xerox has, except the colorcube. Ironically, I came across your blog while researching Xerox PR issues for a paper/essay in my PR online class, which btw Xerox is paying for. For the last 19 years of my 25 years of employment at Xerox I have worked exclusively on color products. Would you agree that Xerox has the best service in the industry?

    • Xerox has always been a worthy competitor, and has historically provided good service. I think that Xerox did especially well in the “Big Iron” market. And for a very long time if you wanted Graphic Quality color it was only Canon or Xerox that were seriously considered.

      I will say that it seems like the Fuji Xerox products are not quite on par with the old traditional Xerox color products. WHat are your thoughts on that?

      • I can tell you that they are much easier to service!
        If your “Big Iron” label is referring to the Docu-Color 40, then I would say it was a great workhorse, and an expensive one. New technology in Xerography makes products like the Docu-Color 252 do what the DC40 did for a third of the costs,or less. Formerly known as Kinko’s, Fed-ex office has at least one, if not two in each store. Remember when a color copy from Kinko’s costs $1 each?
        Xerox has divided color products into office products and production products. Not sure of specifics, but production products normally use Fiery front-ends for raster processing and document management, and office products use a special Xerox-built Linux OS, which is really good for scanning, faxing, emailing.
        Personally, I have very few image quality problems/service calls with our newer products compared to older ones. It’s almost like the color processing technology is nearly perfected.

  7. I have just gone through a process of producing samples for a potential new business customer. The sample files were all from their in-house design software.

    We compared Xerox, Canon & Ricoh products.

    By far, the customer agreed that the Ricoh samples matched the colours on screen and were of a better quality.

    I would not recommend Xerox or Canon at this stage.

  8. We recently got a colorqube where I work. I was looking to resolve a paper sizing issue and found this blog. To be fair much of the criticisms appear to be untrue.

    – You can write on the prints.

    – You can fold the prints without any problem.

    – It does scratch, but only if you make a deliberate attempt, for example, dragging a coin against it over a hard surface.

    – Colours make a pretty good screen match too.

    Just thought I’d add my tupence worth.


  9. Just a follow up…

    You definitely can NOT Heat laminate. Under any temperature setting it melts the wax.

    You CAN cold laminate.

    You CAN fold, but depending on paper it may destroy the wax where the fold is.

    You can’t easily write on pages printed entirely in wax ink (i.e. full page color photos)… get a sharpy.

    Other than that. 40,000+ pages and growing on ours with ZERO problems.

  10. The Solid Ink output will scratch off if you deliberately use your fingernail or other sharp object.

    But so does the paint on my expensive Lexus or any other car for that matter. Imagine if people stopped buying cars because the paint scratched off.

    Under normal usage, people do not scratch the paper they printed – just as they do not scratch the paint on a car to test the durability of the car.

    Certain coated stocks are not good for the solid ink printers – however why use coated stock when the unit gives you a free gloss coat already. ( I cannot use diesel in my gasoline Lexus – but I’m ok with it 🙂 )

    My 3 cents and I sell Xerox solutions.

  11. Does anyone else have a Color Cube 9201 with a finisher (fold & staple)?

    Our has had nothing but problems, and the machine is barely 1 year old (purchased brand new).

    We’ve had Xerox service it several times, and they’ve finally admitted the finisher is defective. But now they want to charge us to replace it, because it’s out of warranty.

    Has anyone else has a problem with their finisher?

  12. I purchased two Xerox Color Cubes about a year ago. I haven’t had the problem you described regarding the scratch test however, don’t expect to use a pen on a colored sheet. You might certain types of markers to work but most pens are a problem. The problems we are having is the general relaibility of the copier itself. Constant network communication problems, reading “offline” when it is not. Software glitches, constant paper jams etc. etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, when they are working, most employees like them but out of the two copiers, one is almost always out of service lately.
    The service reps. definitely do not know how to repair this copier, they have even told me they are inexperienced and will do what they can, Then, as soon as they leave, it goes back to what it was doing. There is only one service rep that I have seen that knows what he is doing but he rarely is assigned to respond. So, it’s constant apologies and downed copiers.
    I understand Xerox has a replacement policy but I guarantee you, that will cost you in time and effort but I’m ready to say bye-bye to these clunkers.

  13. Ok, moving on over a year since the last comment, can anyone tell me about some decent pens that work on print outs from a colorqube. Where I work, we have 9303 machines and being that it is a law firm, blackline/ redline documents make up a large amount of the work which is then ‘marked up’. One individual does not like to use biro’s as the person in question is marking up documents all day long and wants something of decent quality. Any advice/ assistance would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • I use a medium retractable Sharpie pen and it works fine. Also, a regular old Bic pen seems to mark up the full color pages as well.

  14. How does a Xerox 8570N confirm solid ink is from Xerox ??


    • No idea? I don’t sell, support, or service Xerox.

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