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Epson Aculaser M1200 review

Kat Orphanides
2 Apr 2010
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Epson Aculaser M1200
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
43
inc VAT

This ideal budget mono laser is incredibly cheap to buy and doesn't cost much to run unless you print in huge quantities.

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Specifications

mono laser, 20ppm print speed, USB, parallel, 261x385x279mm

The M1200, Epson's latest mono Aculaser, is one of the cheapest printers around. It's not quite as sleek as some, but it's still compact enough to sit comfortably on the desk in your home office. Its specification is pretty basic, with a 600dpi resolution and a 150-page paper tray. The only unusual feature here is the addition of a parallel port, which will only be of use if you still need to print from an old PC.

The M1200 is brand new, which means that pricing on both consumables and the printer itself may be subject to considerable variation over the next couple of months, but even the initial toner prices are good, with costs of just 2.6p per A4 page with the C13S050523 high-capacity return cartridge. If you print a lot, you should be aware that the M1200 has a number of hidden costs and fairly expensive consumables.

You'll have to replace the photoconductor drum every 20,000 pages, at a cost of £89, while the cheapest high yield toner cartridge, the 3,200 page C13S050523, costs around £79. Standard capacity and non-return cartridges are less good value for money. Once you've used up the supplied drum (20,000 page life), factoring in the replacement cost means that page costs go up to 3p per page, making this a poor choice for medium to heavy users.

However, if you just print a hundred or so pages per month, as in our light use Total Cost of Ownership calculations, you'll produce just 3,600 pages over three years, at a cost of £122. That's spectacularly good value; particularly as the printer is very cheap to buy and comes with a 900-page starter cartridge.

Its print speeds are nothing special but are certainly good enough for a personal laser printer, coming in at 16.5ppm for mono text and 16.2ppm for illustrated greyscale documents. Quality on text documents is great, with clear, thick black lettering. Photographic images and business illustrations fare a little less well, with some banding and slightly spidery looking lines on graphs, but are of usable quality. There's no resolution enhancement, but graphical quality can be tweaked using smoothness and lightness adjustment settings in the driver.

We experienced occasional problems with printer jams but these only occurred when we tried to add more paper during a print run and were easily resolved by removing the paper and then opening and closing the paper tray.

The M1200 is primarily remarkable for its price; for less than £50 you can have a reasonably quick mono laser with good print quality and 900 pages worth of toner. Due to the cost of its consumables, it's a poor choice if you print a lot, despite its 15,000 page duty cycle. However, it's perfect for a light user who doesn't want to make a large initial outlay of cash, making it our Budget Buy. If you have greater printing requirements there are printers with cheaper running costs.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Maximum native print resolution600x600dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution600x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A420ppm
Quoted warm-up time16s
Quoted time to first page, mono10s

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.016s
Letter, time to first page 1.014s
25-page mono document - total time00:01:31
Time for 24 pages mixed greyscale 1.01m 29s
Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.120s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.023s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, parallel
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size261x385x279mm
Weight6.0kg
Noise (in normal use)54dB(A)
Duty cycle15,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4
Maximum paper weight163gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity150
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity150
Output tray capacity100 sheets
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

General

Printer technologymono laser
Language(s)host-based
Supported operating systemsWindows 98/Me/2000/XP/XP 64-bit/Server 2003/Vista/Vista 64-bit/7/7 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.2.8+, Linux, Citrix, SAP
Standard printer memory2MB
Maximum printer memory2MB
Other laser features and options3,200 page High Capacity Return Developer Cartridge C13S050523, £79; 3,200 page High Capacity Developer Cartridge C13S050521, £89; 1,800 page Standard Capacity Return Developer Cartridge C13S050522, £46; 1,800 page Standard Capacity Developer Cartridge C1

Buying Information

Price£43
Price of 2nd paper cassetteN/A
Capacity of supplied black toner900 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s)20,000 pages
Estimated mono TCO - three years light£122
Estimated mono TCO - three years medium£685
Estimated mono TCO - three years heavy£3174
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.misco.co.uk
Detailswww.epson.co.uk

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.120s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.023s