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Canon has been going through a particularly good phase with its printer line up, both in the inkjet and laser printer markets, and it has a strong range of mono and colour laser printers in the i-SENSYS brand. The LBP5100 colour laser comes in at a very competitive price, but has too much been snipped away from its feature-set to compensate?
The slightly-sloping, blank fronts of Canon’s i-SENSYS laser printers have become something of a trademark and this colour unit looks cleaner and blanker than most, thanks to a thin line of just eight LEDs at the top and no control buttons at all.
There’s a 250-sheet paper tray right at the bottom, with a supplementary, single-sheet feed virtually at desktop level. A second feed tray with the same capacity can be added as an optional extra. Paper feeds out to a fold-up tray, which cleans off the printer's lines when folded closed. If you forget to open the tray before starting to print, pages fall harmlessly from a slot at the back of the printer, rather than jamming the paper path.
At the back of the machine there's a single USB 2.0 socket – Ethernet is only an option – and a power socket mounted inconveniently high up the printer's chassis, so the mains cable drapes across the desk.
Canon uses combined drum and toner cartridges, so setup and maintenance is very simple. Pull down the front cover and each of the four cartridges is lined up vertically within the case, with a transfer-belt attached to the cover itself. Cartridges slide in, in a silky smooth way and don't even need to be held in place by latches.
The software supplied is basic, but includes a driver that supports all the features of the printer, including duplex print, multiple pages per sheet and watermarks.