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Canon i-SENSYS LBP5100 Colour Laser Printer - Canon i-SENSYS LBP5100 Colour Laser Printer

By Simon Williams



Our Score:


Canon’s speed claims for the i-SENSYS LBP5100 are modest at 12ppm for black and 10ppm for colour. Our five-page black text print took 44 seconds, which gives a real-world speed of 6.82ppm, but when we increased the page count to 20 pages, the printer managed it in 1:58, or 10.17ppm, pretty close to the claim.

Colour print took only slightly little longer, with our five-page print completing in 46 seconds, so we would expect to see the same speed increase with longer documents. While this isn't a rip-roaringly fast printer, at least it's quite close to Canon’s specifications.

It's unusual to have a colour laser printer at this price that supports double-sided print, but Canon's implementation is also designed to print quickly. The printer effectively has two output slots and draws the page it’s about to print the second side of back in, at the same time as feeding out the previous, completed page. This speeds the whole process up and we completed our 20-side duplex test job in 2:14, only 16 seconds longer than the equivalent 20-page, single-sided test.

Text print is clean and densely black at the printer's default resolution of 600dpi and there's no sign of toner spatter, which would give it a fuzzy outline. Colour print is very bright which, while it makes graphics stand out, isn't very accurate to any images printed. Blue in particular comes through much darker than the source colour and registration between black text and any underlying colour tone isn't wonderful. While you can make adjustments in software for some compensation, it should be better by default.

Photo output, by contrast, is if anything slightly underplayed, with colours looking reasonably natural, but with a lack of life. We put this down to an unimpressive yellow content and dark print. A 15 x 10cm photo took 24 seconds to produce.

The only consumable cost is the drum and toner cartridges, which are available in a single capacity: 2,500 pages for black and 2,000 for each colour. With the prices we could find for them on the Internet, we calculate page costs of 2.4p for black and 9.01p for colour.

These costs put the LBP5100 pretty much in the middle of the field, when compared with colour laser printers at similar prices. We can find examples of machines costing more and less than this one, but it all depends on the consumables price you can find. It's well worth shopping around to get the keenest quote.


Canon has produced a quality printer in the i-SENSYS LBP5100. It's easy to maintain, is mid-range on consumable costs and lower than many of its rivals on initial purchase. While it may not be blisteringly fast and may need a little adjustment to get colour output right, its ability to print duplex pages with a minimum of fuss makes it an interesting proposition. You should add in potential paper savings to any purchase decision based on cost and you may well then find it's the most economical choice.

Paul Laurent

October 6, 2008, 7:26 am

This is a great printer

but it will not work on the Microsoft x64 operating system

There are no drives for Window or Vista x64 operating systems

Cannon told me to buy a printer that will run on the 64 bit platform

Cannon doesn't have a colour laser printer that will

Cannon say it will run on

Mac OS X (2)Windows 2000 (2)Windows 98 (2)Windows Me (2)

Windows Server 2003 (2)Windows XP (2)Linux (1)Windows Vista (1)

No mention that Windowsx64 is not supported

So if you run a x64 operation systems you will need to change platforms


October 8, 2008, 3:00 pm

Printer delivered yesterday. No driver included for Mac OS X. 24 hours later I still cannot get it to run reliably (barely at all) using the driver downloaded for Mac OS X from the Canon site.

The very few pages I have coaxed out of it, indicate that this unit can produce great results. Very, very frustrating. I haven't had to mess around like this, with no progress, on a computer for ages. I thought those days had gone. If I crack this problem (or indeed, send the unit back) I will report.


October 14, 2008, 6:47 pm

UPDATE: Ok - I've sorted out how to avoid/or sort dodgy operation of this machine when using the Mac driver and get good, reasonably fast results. However the CAPT StatusMonitor for Mac remains totally useless- it refuses to have any dialogue with the printer at all, so consumables-levels, print-count and job queue remain completely unavailable (although the last item is available through the Mac dialogue panel). Freezes and printer disconnection / restarts are still necessary too often for comfort.

Canon support have been utterly useless.

To be completely fair I have (reluctantly) run the printer from a Windows XP laptop, and the difference is instant. Everything runs as it should, although the driver control dialogues are the usual Windows, complicated mess.

Clearly the real problem is with the poorly written Mac OS X (10.4.11) driver, which in time might get fixed by Canon - but I'm not holding my breath and still considering sending this quite nice little printer back for a refund.


October 16, 2008, 2:30 pm

FINAL UPDATE: I know this a review site and not a tech forum - but I do feel the need to be fair. Canon finally came through with useful support, even if the process was long, hard work. My LBP5100 is now working perfectly down to an additional factor in the driver installation process not covered by the Canon installation guide. By using 2 Mac machines to test it, I've found that deleting all other Canon printers, trashing the Canon folder from 'Library' then using 'Reset Printing System' in 'Printer Setup Utility' is essential, prior to a reboot and then driver installation, to allow the driver and utilities to load properly.

The printer and utilities now work very well indeed and I like this printer a lot.

Martin K

October 28, 2008, 11:23 am

My own experiences setting this printer up on two Macs have been good, no problems:- one running 10.5, the other 10.4. The procedure is slightly different for both OS's, but Canon provide clear instructions for each version of Mac OSX. The other point I'd like to make about this printer is how quiet it is, especially compared to a Konica Minolta 2430 DL which was my previous colour laser printer.

Paul Laurent

March 10, 2010, 10:54 am

This is an update on the Printer

on the 9/11/2009 Canon said

Please be advised that Canon will support its laser printer, multifunctional, fax and personal copier products with Windows 7. Detailed information will be available approximately mid November.

On the 4/1/2010 Canon said

Please be advised that Canon will be supporting your printer on a 64-bit Windows 7 operating system and Canon will distributing drivers shortly.

on the 10/3/2010

Thank you for contacting Canon.Please be advised that your scanner is not compatible with a 64-bit operating system. We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

I now have a Scanner I did not know I had

I am not sure how It works

I need an other Printer that works on x64 any ideas

Paul Laurent

March 11, 2010, 12:05 pm

This is the next update

Canon the nice company they are have finally released the X64 bit version for this printer


So we can now enjoy the full potential of Windows

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