This article first appeared in HWM Jul 2011.
When Fuji Xerox released its new consumer line of printers with S-LED technology – their fresh take on LED printing – the printers came with refreshingly modern product designs that emphasized minimalism, with a uniform identity across the various models.
The Fuji Xerox CM205b is a sterling example of this identity. The printer comes in unassuming matte black, and unlike competing printers with harsh angular edges, the CM205b has soft, pleasingly rounded corners – even the cover lid has a slight rounded top, making the entire printer look like an organic living thing rather than a cold, mechanical contraception. And the aesthetic is subtly but powerfully finished with a cut wave in the middle of the front of the CM205, which underlines the Fuji Xerox logo and accentuates the design with a fine flourish.
At the same time, it's probable that the CM205b's designers have trodden over the minimalistic fine line and made things too simple; the three buttons on the rightmost of the printer control panel are confusingly and unclear. One yellow button is marked "CA//" – whatever could it mean?
The CM205b is relatively easy to set up. The ink cartridges load from the side; they plug in and out smoothly. Side-loading does mean that wherever you set up this printer, you have to keep its right side free of obstruction so you can open the side door to swap ink cartridges.
The CM205b's print quality is pristine. Images are clear and sharp, while colors are pleasing to the eye and spot on accurate, and the printer distinguishes fine levels of graduation well. Either black and white or color prints are excellent, even though the CM205b isn't a photo printer and won't print on photo paper, the image quality on thick paper is just as good as any photo.
The print speeds however, are inconsistent. Document printing is fast, slightly faster than the fastest inkjets but not as blazingly quick as the fastest lasers we've tested. That's odd though; because the other printer in Fuji Xerox's S-LED stable, the smaller P205b, was faster than the CM205b (it could do ten pages of A4 black and white documents at 25 seconds while the CM205b prints the same at 52 seconds). Copy times are also disturbingly long, while scanning is quick. There's also the occasional wrong paper size error, even though the correct paper sizes had been set beforehand.
As such, the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint CM205b strikes us as an inconsistent offering. Its product design is lovely, its print quality is strikingly high, its printing speeds are slower but still quick, but its copying speeds are slow. It's an odd combination, and one that makes us hesitant to recommend this model unreservedly.