- Easy to set up, small, quick enough
- Windows only, 125-sheet feeder could be too small
Canon's LBP-5200 offers straightforward colour laser printing for a single machine or small workgroup. Unfortunately, you'll be struggling to get it to work with Mac OS or Linux
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Low-cost colour laser printers are finding a niche in small businesses and homes alike. Lasers are faster and generally cheaper to run than their inkjet counterparts and leaps in cartridge technology means that relatively complicated laser devices are ready for consumers.
Canon's LBP-5200 includes 8 MB of memory as standard but the unit employs a compression technology called Hi-SCoA when it sends data to the printer to maximise use of the memory space. The LBP-5200 includes a USB 2.0 port to keep up with the flow of data, and an optional Ethernet adapter is also available for those that require lightweight network printing. The Canon printer relies on the Windows GDI, which means it won't run on any other operating system. Windows versions between Windows 98 and Windows XP are all fully supported, though.
The 5200 tips the scales at nearly 20kg fully loaded with paper and cartridges, but at 48 x 45 x 33cm, it's far from the bulkiest laser printer on the market. Canon has worked to make the 5200 as easy as possible from a maintenance perspective, and all consumables are accessible from the front panel. The LBP-5200 includes a combined transfer, photosensitive drum, and waste toner container to cut the number of consumables down to four. The A4 paper tray will hold 125 sheets, but an optional 250-page feeder is also available to boost capacities for a busy work environment. The colour cartridges are rated to 4000 pages, while Canon claims the black one will be good for 5000 - they should last for several months, depending on usage and demands.
The print engine can handle resolutions up to 600dpi, and printed pages are surprisingly clear and sharp - especially considering the relatively low purchase price of the 5200.
Canon's On-Demand Fixing System also allows the unit to start up extremely quickly, and there's a short wait for the first page. We timed the printer in draft mode, and the device managed 16 pages per minute in mono and 3.5 pages per minute in colour at a little over 5% coverage, with start-up times of 20 and 29 seconds for black and colour respectively. Though the specs are slightly below Canon's claims, they are still acceptable for either a personal laser printer or to cover the demands of a small workgroup.
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