Before you buy a Xerox ColorQube…read this!

June 30, 2010

I recently received a document from Konica Minolta that reviewed the Xerox ColorQube and I was alarmed by some of what I read. Now I am sure that you would not expect KM to say nice things about the Xerox ColorQube (or is it ColorCube)? But what impressed me is they simply quoted two independent reports. These 2 separate reports were compiled, the one by BLI and the other by SpencerLab. It was reported that Xerox actually paid for the report by SpencerLab.

You should consider the following shortcomings (listed in these two reports) before you sign the Delivery & Acceptance:

The amount of stair stepping in diagonal lines was greater than competitive models in copy mode.

Black Text in Standard Mode was rated at a lower quality and density when compared to like models.

Black Lines were fuzzy and broken in Standard mode and Fast color mode, these lines appeared broken resulting in a loss of detail.

Solid black tints in standard and fast color mode exhibited streaking.

Images printed in standard or fast color mode exhibited graininess.

(the above statements add up to poor image quality for your companies documents)

The Xerox ColorQube slows down considerably when it detects an image quality problem.

Users have to empty the ink that is collected in the Waste tray

This report even said that the Xerox ColorQube 9203 fails to offer PC Faxing (can this be right????).

The good news is Xerox offers 3 different warm up modes…

…the bad news is they are slow, slower, and slowest.

  1. Sleep Mode = 3 minutes & 30 Seconds
  2. Standby Mode = 4 minutes & 5 Seconds
  3. Power Off Mode = 18 Minutes & 16 Seconds (in most offices this would cause an armed revolt)

So it is unlikely your office will be powering this down, so much for the companies green initiatives.

Additional Short comings that the report revealed about the Xerox Color Qube that may drive your end users or your IT staff crazy:

Users are not able to send to multiple types of destinations when they scan a document (This is a major step backwards, to not be able to in one scan send the document to an email, fax, and shared network folder).

Only One LDAP Server can be set up to access destinations.

End users can not save an LDAP search to the address book. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they could easily add an address, but according to this report an Admin has to create a .csv file and import that file into the ColorQube to update the address book (say it ain’t so).

The print driver does not offer an easy way of selecting a paper draw. (seriously?)

The Color Qube 9203 can only achieve its fastest speed in Fast Color Mode (which has poor quality) and only with the Postscript driver, which according to this report outputs an error when it is used for Booklet mode (sounds like it is not ready for prime time).

On top of all of this the report said that the Xerox ColorQube is priced higher than the average models that are comparably equipped!!! Wow…what’s not to love ;-\

Seriously folks this solid Ink technology which Xerox is presenting as advanced, was first introduced in 1986 by Tektronix which Xerox acquired when they bought Tektronix. Don’t be blinded by all the Xerox Hype, ask for an in house demo (They will NOT want to give you one), test it with your own company documents, and in your own environment.

Look closely at the quality of your companies documents (text, images and line art).

Feel the documents (waxy), try to write on them with a ball point pen, fold them, leave them in a pile on your cars dashboard on a hot summer day and see if they stick together. Feed them back through your MFDs document feeder and see how they fair on the 2nd, 3rd, or 10th time. Will they hold up over time?

Then ask your end users for their honest feed back after they have copied, printed, and scanned, & faxed and see what they say before you spend more to get less.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh



  1. Hi there… for once I agree with most of what you say. Xerox pushes this as “green”, because there are no toner bottles… but between the waste and the fact that it uses so much electricity to heat the wax, it’s not very green at all.

    One thing regarding the waste tray. The waste hardens in the tray, like melted wax hardens… so there is no real worry from pillage on the rug.

    That said… it is still waste and still essentially toner/ink that you pay for but can’t use; and there is a lot of it.

    • Jim,

      Thanks for the clarification on the waste tray!

  2. I just wanted to way in on the Qube or Cube or whatever…

    If you find someone trying to sell this into any type of graphic arts application you should slaughter them – and right fully so.

    Regarding the rest of the info I won’t detail out what is correct or incorrect I’ll just caution you that the machine is dead reliable and rock solid – Xerox will drop this of for trial in a heartbeat.

    In the appropriate situation it’s hard to beat a machine with no fuser, drums, toner cartridges, or disposable waist containers.

    Call that my $0.01 πŸ˜‰

    • I commented on the original post trying to find ‘the catch’ on cost savings etc… surrounding the ColorQube.

      I agree with you Joel – we have sold numerous units now and in the year that has passed have had one service call placed for one device and that’s all – they are a solid reliable box when sold into the correct environment.

      As for the shortcomings mentioned – i would advise anyone to investigate further for themselves to find out the facts. A machine with no consumables that diagnoses & fixes print quality issues on it’s own – I am yet to find any frustrated IT guys and would dearly like to know why you would want to add a searched address to a local address book on the machine, when the whole point of LDAP lookups is to dynamicaly search a client network for a user without the need to manually add any addresses to the device?

      Fax to PC is available as standard. (Post launch)
      Scan to multiple destinations is also standard and I would far rather empty a waste wax tray (its cold and solid) than a waste toner bottle.

      Oh and the technology behind the front is a far cry from the original Tektronix Phasers of 80’s – thats the same as stating that a brand new Canon box that has a laser in it is the same as the original digital devices – ooh Canon GP55 – I remember them well… or even better the NP4835..

      Sorry I’m getting too techy now – I’ll go…



        10 POINTS FOR THAT!



  3. Guys,

    Thanks for the feedback, especially setting the record straight on Fax to PC is available as standard. (Post launch). I could not believe that Xerox would not have this feature.

    As for the rest of the statements they didn’t come from me, they were from two independent sources (BLI & SpencerLabs, one of which Xerox paid for).

  4. We have the 9203 in house which has had a few ups and downs but overall it seems to be very soild. We do use it for alot of graphical marketing material. I agree that you can get a better image form some other units but the cost savings for this unit is in the variable billing based on color usage. None of the other copiers can compete. This unit saved us $35,000 in outsourced printing materails which we use to have done at the printers or through a 3rd party. I have had alot of issues with our unit which is not very common based on what I hear from other owners. It could be the fact we are not a standard location. We are out in Rural enviroment at a crush plant where there is freaquent power issues and dust. Its more the power issues that are out problems with the lengthly downtimes/startups. As to the paper sticking after being in the sun it does not. there are some false statements made above which may have been based on the first firmware releases.

  5. I have a xerox colorqube. With its intelligent ready mode, I never wait for a print, but it goes into low power mode over night. Toner based copies waste their toner too… Ever heard of a “waste toner bottle”. They all have them. I write on our printed pages all the time, with a ball point pen. Its never been an issue. When solid ink came out in 1986 there were problems with the heat factors, the folding, the melting, and the writing. However this new ink doesn’t have any of those same problems. I can say that from experience. Further, if you were to print any dry-toner page on “draft” the quality would be greatly reduced. In “fast color” the xerox produces the same expected result. If you want wickedly awesome looking pages, then use the a better setting. If you’re printing for in-office memos and don’t care about the resolution, fast color is e way to go. We have our PS print drivers defau
    Ted to fast color and they look just fine.

    Sadly my experience has told me that the people who complain like the above article does, usually do so out of sheer ignorance. You may want to actually try the device before you buy. We had an in house test of three weeks. We experienced no downtime and have 15 staff that are exceptionally happy.

  6. We have the Xerox color qube and we have had nothing but problems. We have the booklet finisher and its been down for over 2 months.

    • We have a colorqube 9201 and have had lots of problems but they have to be offset against the cost saving of the variable billing and simplicity of having no drums/fusers/waste toner cartridges. (it has a waste wax collection tray but you just empty it)

      I have to agree the driver is a big step backwards and significantly worse that our Xerox laser machine driver. If you have a pdf with mixed A3/A4 (A1) and portrait/landscape it’s impossible to print it out correctly. Also users often get a small A4 centered in a larger A3 sheet of paper. Sure, you can work it out but it’s more clicks in the setup and not intuitive. previously you just said ‘scale to fit page’ and it did.

      I’ve just had print heads and other parts replaced as it was producing lines on the prints but it’s on contract so no cost to me. Still downtime and an argument with Xerox, as always.

      6 months after getting it some processor chips went haywire which caused a lot of downtime. Once fixed the billing counters were reset and the supplier didn’t want to send ink/wax as didn’t believe us as to the readings. It took lots of unnecessary explaining and who knows if the bill was ever right.

      One of our applications produces multiple single page A3 print jobs and the finisher can’t handle it. It tries to shake each job as if to line up the pages, even though only 1 page, and the next page comes flying out causing the sheets to concertina together, think vienetta if you know what they look like. Xerox claim it works fine. My opinion is it tries to be too fast for it’s own good.

      I was promised ‘a smooth paper path and no jamming’, I have a box with examples of paper jams from all over the machine.

      I won’t get another one due to all the above, and the service is mediocre. It’s time for a Canon/Ricoh or something else.

    • Steve, Can I ask you if you have had to write on documents which have come out from this machine? If so, what pens do you use as a person at the company I work at completes mark up’s constantly so needs to write over printed documents? Thanks in advance for any advise you can give.

  7. I have never read such nonsense in my life we use them and have done for years, yes there is a slight quality issue against laser but you only really notice that against xeroxs own products against most of the other samples i have seen from other companies offerings its better. it folds fine we have a booklet maker on ours and we have the displays in are shop window in 40 degree heat!! I can only assume that the author is a konica minolta salesman that is fed up of losing out to it

  8. Same here. Staff of 85+. Using Qube9203(whit stapling and folding) for 3 years as main company printer. Very hapy.

    p.s. sorry for my english

  9. They aren’t amazing but at least you’re not inhaling cancer causing toner.

  10. Strugled with a colourcube 9201 for 3 years now constant breakdowns circuit board replaced paer jams quality issues best laugh try encapsulating a print and wathe the wax melt! what a pile of carp this machine is

    UK user

  11. did you ever try to close down the system of the color cube by shutting off the electricity? Well don’t!! it won’t start up again.
    i asked xerox what to do and they said,” dont shut of the electricity”
    How can i ever place the equipment any where else?
    Never seen such stupid people, the mechanic told me that xerox is good in writing invoices, you better buy a HP!!
    After two years i can throw away my machine
    thank you xerox

  12. I need a service manual for the Colorqube 9201…any help is greatly appreciated!

  13. We used the ColorQube8570 for about a month. Unfortunately, we had to replace the printer, due to the venting of the fumes from the ink. The printer was placed in a small office and soon after we installed the printer some of the people in the office were getting a skin rash. The fumes we just absolutely obnoxious. Since we replaced the printer with a regular color laser printer we have no such issues.

  14. Hi folks!

    I have a 8560MFP at home and a 9201 at the Office .
    Color is amazing , Contrast also. DO NOT Power down πŸ™‚ the Printer
    and print once a week some pages. You will get printouts with
    nearly photo Quality on ordinary cheap paper.
    And play around with Printer Driver ( Photo / Commercial etc )
    You need no DRUMS no TONER no DEVELOPER no DEVELOPERHOUSING – you just need SOLID INK ( CMYK) .
    If you really want MORE QUALITY – go to a Duy Printer ……( and pay much more / Page )
    You should not fold your waterproof printouts πŸ™‚ the UV resistance is OK but not for ever….

    • Steve,

      I just read an article that said that Xerox is abandoning their Solid Ink printers.


      • Yes they are they have stopped making this machine now.

  15. NO
    XEROX relased just ( 10.2015 ) the 8580

  16. We use three wax based printers, and prints about a million pages a year om each box. We’ve har no issues with the Machines, during the 5 years. We use the timer, so that the Machines are on from 7 to 21, when the Office close. Quality is good enough for our use. We have a Ricoh pro c900 for the extra high quality prints.
    The xerox box prints ok, even on recycled low quality paper, that our previous laser would have trouble to give proper coverage.

  17. We have a colorqube 8580, love the quality but it quit on us a few months ago and then I turned it on and it worked again. I ran about 300 copies and it quit again. It boots up and then shuts down…is it over heating? Has anyone had this issue? I’m now going to wait a day or two to see if it’ll work again. Frustrating.

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