When you think of Xerox, most of us think of huge copiers taking up loads of space and priced outside our budgets. But it’s time to rethink that notion.

By Rieva Lesonsky

It’s not often a small business owner can get so much for so little, but that’s what the new Xerox WorkCentre 6515 printer gives you. The multifunction printer/copier/scanner/fax machine, which Xerox sent me to test, is easy to set up, loaded with features, lightning quick and quite affordable, starting at less than $500.

First, some caveats. This is not a small device. It weighs about 65 pounds and is approximately 20 inches high and deep and 16.5 inches across. So you’ll need adequate space to put it—and likely some help putting it there. That said, the machine fit comfortably in my home office.

The WorkCentre 6515 is a printer, scanner and copier. Mine came with an optional wireless kit; other models come equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities. The wireless is a snap (almost literally) to install. In fact, the whole device is essentially plug and play—though I have to say I was intimidated when I first looked at the setup sheet. Turns out the instructions were in multiple languages. While I wish the print were a bit larger, following the directions was a cinch and I had the WorkCentre 6515 set up in minutes.

It helps that the touchscreen makes interacting with the device so easy. The user interface is designed to mimic the way we interact with smartphones and tablets, making it simple to setup, customize and use. You can choose which icons you want on the interface. For instance, I cannot fax from my phone line so I don’t need a fax icon taking up space and it was easy to remove it.

Another nice feature is that the user interface shows a preview of your scans, so you can see what’s scanning before you push the button. And you can zoom in on the screen (like you would on a smartphone).

I like the relatively large paper capacity—meaning you don’t have to constantly get up and refill the paper tray. The paper drawer holds 250 sheets, and there’s a useful by-pass tray that holds an additional 50 sheets, or envelopes or labels, etc. If that’s not enough you can purchase an optional paper tray that holds 550 more sheets of paper. Top that off with a single-pass Duplex Automatic Document Feeder (DADF) and scanning both sides of a document in one motion, really saves time.

Unfortunately today, small businesses can’t be too concerned about security. This device is well protected. The security wizard helps you set up Secure Print and select the level of security you want, enabling you to limit access to the WorkCentre 6515 to the employees you choose. And you can even decide which staffers can get and print out incoming faxes.Helping increase productivity is the WorkCentre 6515’s speed. Xerox’s specs say both color and black and white pages print at up to 30 pages per minute. And you get up to 1200 x 2400 dpi.

Perhaps most important to small businesses is print quality. And the WorkCentre 6515 delivers on that front. Word docs were crisp. Even better, I printed out one of my PowerPoints and a presentation for a friend and the charts, illustrations and graphs looked quite impressive. I even printed out some pics (from my iPhone) and the quality was much better than I expected. This makes the WorkCentre 6515 a workhorse. You can use it to print your own marketing materials, including presentations, flyers and brochures.

And the very best thing of all for budget-minded small business owners is you can get this powerhouse of a printer for less than $500.

The WorkCentre 6515 is available direct from Xerox, through its channel partners and from CDW, Newegg and Amazon. For more on the WorkCentre 6515 color MFP see this video and feature highlight video.