Ricoh claims a good turn of speed for the Aficio CL1000, at 8ppm colour and a sparkling 31ppm, black. We couldn’t get these speeds out of the machine, but manufacturers’ print tests are always measured in ideal conditions and rarely include page rasterising time. Our five-page text test completed in 29 seconds, giving a true speed of just over 10ppm, while the five-page colour text and graphics run took 56 seconds, or just over 5ppm. Although these speeds aren’t too close to Ricoh’s, they’re still fast for a printer in this class.
Text print from the 600dpi print engine is clean and clear, with very little spread. Colour graphics are also bright and dense, ideal for business graphs and charts, but colour photos, which require something a bit more natural, look rather gaudy. The range of possible colours from a colour laser is always smaller than from an ink-jet, but recent improvements mean that some machines can reproduce colour photos quite well. The Aficio CL1000 isn’t among the best.
This is also a noisy printer. When idling, the internal fans produce nearly 50dBA on their own and overall noise rises to over 60dBA when the Aficio’s printing. The noise spectrum is quite intrusive too, with a series of clunks as each of the colour cartridges is pulled towards the transfer belt in turn.
Although each consumable appears pricey, they have high page yields, so overall running costs are low. There are four toner cartridges to consider, as well as a photoconductor belt and a waste toner bottle. Each 6,500 page colour toner cartridge costs around £130, with a black one, surprisingly, costing less at £110, while offering 9,800 pages. The photoconductor belt is a fairly hefty £300, but should last for 60,000 black pages or 15,000 in full colour.
This gives page costs of 2.09p for five per cent black cover and 10.60p for 20 per cent colour. The black page cost is low for this class of printer, but the colour cost is a couple of pence higher than most.
This is a noisy, but quick colour laser for the money. It uses long-lasting cartridges and produces bright, if not particularly accurate, colour. Bear in mind, though, that the Brother HL-2700CN uses the same Ricoh engine and can be had for less than half the price. Running costs on the Brother are around 2p per colour page lower, too, so the TCO on the Ricoh Aficio CL1000 doesn't compare favourably.