Ricoh uses its Gelsprinter technology to produce printers with much of the colour gamut of regular inkjets, but with a speed approaching that of colour lasers. We've looked at the company's standalone Aficio GX2500 print before, but the GX3000s is a full multifunction machine, with flatbed scanner for scanning and copying. The machine's price undercuts most of the office inkjets, intended for higher volume, day-to-day business work.
The machine is substantial, up to the size of many colour laser printers aimed at the small office. The height is mainly down to the bulky print heads, sitting on top of a paper path which takes paper from a 250-sheet main tray. Rollers turn it through 180 degrees, HP-style, so pages exit to a paper tray which pulls out from the front of the machine. There's no separate photo paper tray, though you can load glossy photo paper into the main tray.
The control panel is a bit right-hand heavy, with a number pad to the right of the main scan and copy controls, which themselves sit in front of a 2-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display. To the left are three, small mode buttons, while on the right there are buttons to start and stop a print job. The number pad is unnecessary, as there are no fax facilities in this machine. There's no network connection, either and the only way of linking to a PC is via USB.
Driver installation is a shambles. For a start you're asked to ensure that Windows' Found New Hardware Wizard isn't running. It's fair enough to ask for it to be cancelled - lots of manufacturers prefer to use their own installation routines - but turning it off so it doesn't auto-detect when you connect a new USB device isn't trivial and Ricoh supplies no instructions.
Even if you manage this, Ricoh's auto-detect doesn't always detect the printer and if you try and proceed, it defaults to an LPT1 parallel connection despite the machine having no parallel port. In the end we installed both printer and TWAIN drivers independently to get the Aficio GX3000s working - we hope the problem is an isolated one.
The print driver itself is well laid out and there are options for multiple pages per sheet, watermarks and several for using the built-in duplexer.
The four separate gel ink cartridges slide into place behind a flap on the front, right-hand side. The term ‘gel' is used loosely here, as the ink is liquid, though more viscous than regular inkjet ink.