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Color laser printers

Comparing low-cost printers

 

You may not have noticed it, but there is actually really low cost laser printers. During these days of preparating the holiday season with marketing camapigns targeting the individual user, we see a lot of ads for under 300€ street prices. Notably, I saw one in the Paris metro for the Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2400W.

Earlier on the same web site:

In a previous article, I had already compared a first set of low cost color laser printers.

What printers did I find for this comparison? A few new ones need to be seriously considered:

Canon LBP-5200: much smaller than most of its competitors, nearly instantaneous startup and very good printing quality seem to be the aces of this color printer (like the previous LBP-520). even if the linuxprinting.org web site does not even know it (which is generally a very bad start for compatibility with Linux), the situation may be improved by purchasing the PCL6 and PostScript 3 option (which is perfect for Mac and Linux easy compatibility). However, the limited memory (8MB only) may become a strong constraint when printing bitmap images

Nearly 14W power consumption when idle. Even if the color ink cartridges provided inside the new printer are of reduced capacity (2000 pages instead of a normal 4000), the black ink cartridge contains the normal ink capacity (5000 pages).

HP Color LaserJet 2600N: A nice machine from Hewlett-Packard. As normal with this company, there will be no compatibility problem thanks to the full compatibility set (HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5c, HP Postscript Level 3 Emulation). A 250-sheet loader and an Ethernet interface will send it naturally on a small personal or enterprise network. But it is still a big chunk of hardware (407 x 453 x 370 mm for a respectable weight of 18.4 kg).

When looking at the print quality, nobody will be knocked out. There are better results in the category, but it normally comes from much more expensive printers. On the other hand, printing speed is really high (a full 8ppm in colour mode - this is quite nice).

Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2400WKonica-Minolta Magicolor 2400W: is the latest offering from Konica-Minolta. It is still in competetion with older products from the same company (see below), but it brings much needed improvements. The most visible ones are a reduced size, a reduced weight, and a lower noise level (it was easy but it's not perfect yet).

The always interesting linuxprinting.org web site gives us the useful information that this GDI laser printer (so, normally limited to MS-Windows applications) is recognized and correctly managed by an open source printing driver. But, for the Mac, it seems more difficult. It may work with the following tip (and probably some experimenting, though I could not check this by myself and I let you do your own testing):

You have to be willing to do some experimenting (because I haven't done this personally), but I think it will work with installation of a set of open source driver "parts":

http://foo2zjs.rkkda.com/
(read and install from here first)

http://www.linuxprinting.org/macosx/foomatic/
(These two parts "may" be required to get the foomatic command interpreter - I'm not sure)

Good luck.

(Origin: http://www.macworld.com/forums/)

Even if not blindingly fast (5ppm color), this 18 kg printer provides nice features like 32 MB of memory, 2400x600dpi resolution and a 200-sheet loader.

On the Internet, user comments are rather positive. Some of the encountered problems are:

Still on the market are some of the printers of my last Summer comparison:

Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2300W: bulky (25kg, 50cm high), noisy (39dB idling) and consuming 250W at sleep (after that, I wouldn't be bothered switching the light off when I leave my flat!). But it seems to have a very good printing quality and it is compatible with Linux if you use the right open source driver.

Epson AcuLaser C1100: 500-sheet loader right of the box, parallel port (good for the compatibility with an old PC re-used as a print server), but no knwn possibility to use it with Linux (it should be possible for Macs, even if not easy).

Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2300DL: As the 2300W, bulky (25kg, 50cm high), noisy (39dB idling) and consuming 250W at sleep. Weirdly, compatibility with Linux is less convincing than for its little 2300W sister. However, the print quality is still very good (Magicolor's strong point). But the time to output the first printed page seems to be very long (it's worse if the print job is big). Most users give the advice to configure the printer in order to wait for printing the first page after the job spooler is full (this advice seems good for the 2300W, too).

 

In the end, it is clear to me that the Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2400W must be included in any selection for a low cost laser printer. I don't give awards, but this one deserves a thumbs-up.

 


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Latest update: 30-oct-08

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