What are the main requirements of a personal laser printer? It should produce good quality print reasonably quickly, of course, but it should also be small, quiet, easy to use, inexpensive and cheap to run. Against this set of criteria, Canon’s diminutive LaserShot LBP3000 starts off well.
It’s about the size of a bread-maker, but half the height. Before you can use it, you have to increase the printer’s footprint by pulling the front cover down, as it forms the paper-feed tray. Load up to 150 sheets of paper on this and fit the provided smoked plastic cover. A clear cover on the top of the printer folds out to form the output tray.
Despite the low asking price of the LBP3000, there is a multi-purpose feed, positioned just above the main paper tray, so you can print envelopes and special media, a sheet at a time. This facility is not found on some colour laser printers costing over four times as much as this mono machine.
There's a single, blue power light and an illuminated button to show when paper runs out on the printer’s top surface, but there's no LCD display and you need to rely on messages from the printer driver on your PC, if anything untoward happens. Nothing did while we were running our tests.
The single-piece photoconductor drum and toner cartridge slides deep inside the printer, once you've lifted a cover on its top surface. This is the only consumable you need to fit, to maintain the LBP3000. At the right rear is a small hinged cover, which reveals the USB 2.0 socket. This is the one connection provided as standard, though you can fit an Ethernet network adapter as an optional extra.
The only software is the printer driver and this is pretty basic, with no facilities for watermarks or overlays. It can do page imposition up to 16 pages per sheet and will also print posters of up to four by four sheets.
Because of the simplicity of the driver, it's very easy to get the machine up and running and the only complication in use is whether you want to remove the paper and fold up the paper tray when you're not printing. We think most people will let it lie, for the increased convenience.
Canon claims 14 pages per minute as a top speed for this machine in draft mode and we wouldn’t contest this. Printing in normal mode, we completed our five page text document in 33 seconds, which gives just over nine pages per minute. Not bad for an entry-level laser printer, costing under £90.