Konica Minolta 2550
Konica are perhaps more well known for their photographic equipment but that’s not what I’m writing about today. I’m here to write about the magicolor 2550 laser printer. Once upon a time, laser printers were priced outside the consumer bracket but as the technology improved and became cheaper it’s now possible to pick one up for as little as £50 for good quality mono prints, so it’s only natural for the colour range to become more widely available as well.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks using the magicolor 2550, a colour laser printer that costs less than £400 and is part of the magicolor range that starts from £159.99, which is arguably a fantastic price for a colour laser printer.
The magicolor 2550 may not appeal to the home user with its larger than typical dimensions for a home printer (D-395, W-430, H-341 mm), but for a home office or small to medium business it’s an ideal machine if you want great looking plain paper prints. Featuring a 300MHz processor and 128MB of RAM, this mutli-platform printer is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems so it’s ideal even if you have a network of machines running these different systems there won’t be any driver issues.
Resolution is at a mere 600 x 600 which is a far cry from the 4800 and 5760 dpi worlds of inkjet printers, however the magicolor uses PhotoArt and Pulse Width Modulation, which essentially upscales the resolution to 9600 x 600 (delivering an effective resolution of 9600 x 600) that is able to deliver amazing colour using the supplied ink toner (Konica bundle the full high capacity toners that are capable of 4,500 pages with the printer!) and because it’s using toner instead of liquid ink the results really are fantastic even when using plain A4 paper (up to 200g/m2)
Connectivity comes in the form of USB 2.0, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and strangely enough, for those that still use it, a Parallel connection.
Quality of Prints
The five toner cartridges inside of the 2550 are available in 1,500 and 4,500 page capacities with the latter capacity bundled in the box. Going against the usual paradigm of printer manufacturers trying to squeeze every penny out of you through refill sales, Konica have taken a more positive route that definitely reflects well on them.
Although the resolution is at 600 x 600, Konica have managed to optimise picture quality output using a Simitri polymerised toner that creates smooth gradients and evens out colour tones, removing the problem of low resolution prints coming out blocky or pixellated.
Text reproduction as expected and required with a laser printer offers very sharp and rich text that is both vibrant and clear on the page.
Speed of prints
I have to admit, this is the first time I have tested a colour laser printer and perhaps my expectations were set a little bit high because the speed that this printer rolled out each sheet was rather slow in comparison to an inkjet. It feels like the best part of a minute before a page comes out and then you have to wait another minute for the next page, it doesn’t come out sheet after sheet like an inkjet or mono laser does.
This test was done with the quality settings on “High” for maximum quality output but I can’t imagine that makes much of a difference when it’s running on a 300MHz PowerPC processor with 128MB of DDR2 RAM, it wasn’t that long ago that our everyday computers were running that kind of hardware.
Backed by a 3 year guarantee and low cost per page prints, the Konica magicolor 2550 represents value for money in an office environment, however given the price point it is at as well as the physical dimensions it’s not going to appeal to a home user either because of cost, space or both. Instead this laser printer is destined for the office environment allowing for professional high quality text and graphics to be printed at a fraction of the cost of inkjets.
With a laser printer you also avoid having wet prints that an inkjet typically produces when it’s finished spraying the ink on to the paper, it works differently by thermally ‘burning’ the toner cartridge on to the paper so the end result is a pristine sheet that isn’t creased or wet to the touch.
At just under £400 it’s a no brainer for any office to go for a laser and what better starting point than the network-capable Konica 2550 that comes with a 4500 print capacity in the toners that ship with it as well as compatibility for both Mac and Linux operating systems on top of the existing Windows support. The only fault I could find with the Konicas is the dimensions of the whole unit making it a desk ‘unfriendly’ printer and its weight doesn’t make it an easy one to move.
Slow print speeds may not be an issue for some people and some environments but for the occasions when you need a print there and then and you don’t want to have to wait for the next solar eclipse to happen for your marketing proposal to print out then this model perhaps isn’t as ideal, however if you’re the type who enjoys waiting at the supermarket checkouts whilst the elderly lady in front chats to the cashier and takes her time as though she’s got all the time in the world, then you won’t be disappointed.