Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050 Colour Laser - Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050

By Simon Williams



Our Score:


The quality of text print from this machine is good, with little spatter and clean, well-defined text at all sizes. Colours are very brightly reproduced though greens and blues are much darker than the originals and there's some problem with black text registration over some colours as there's obvious haloing.

Photo reproduction shows a slightly better colour gamut than with some colour lasers though colours once again are darker than they should be and reds look a little over-emphasised.

Both the Canon and HP versions of this machine claim noise levels of 47dBA but the only way we can believe these figures is without the peaks when paper is fed from the input trays. At these points, noise reaches around 10dBA higher, which makes these printers quiet in comparison with large workgroup machines but noisy if the alternative is a colour inkjet.

The fourth toner cartridges are rated at 1,500 pages for colour and 2,300 pages for black. Both these capacities are 100 pages higher than their HP equivalents, but it's not clear whether that's because they contain more toner or just that they're measured differently.

Canon offers all four cartridges in a Value Pack at a slightly lower cost than the individual consumables, so we used this figure for calculating the colour page cost, but stuck to the individual cost for the black cartridge, which is lower than a quarter of the Value Pack price. Using this formula gives a page cost for black of 2.66p, including 0.7p for plain paper, and 11.5p for colour, applying the same 0.7p paper cost.

Again, these figures are lower than the costs for the HP machine, but not by much, and there's obviously some allowance being made for the low purchase price of the Canon printer itself, by way of the relatively high cost of its consumables.


If you're considering a colour laser printer for personal use and have both this Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050 and the HP LaserJet CP1515n on your shortlist, you should see slightly quicker and slightly cheaper prints from the Canon machine, but marginally better print quality from the HP, which also provides network capability for a fiver or so more than USB-only LBP5050.


April 3, 2009, 2:50 pm

Utterly useless for a modern Mac unless you already have a copy of Windows running via emulation software! The PC interface is ok. Can only get this lovely printer (it is!) to print on a mac is by using Parallels and using a virtual machine. I don't think they should be allowed to advertise this as being Mac OS 10.x compatible as it simply is not (am using 10.5.6). Great shame, but ok printer. Am waiting for a better driver! Please hurry up Canon.

Catherine Hogan

April 5, 2009, 3:06 am

The cartridges for this printer will print approx 500 colour pages at 50% coverage and then need replacing! The running costs are astronomical. I run a home based business, printing about 1000 colour pages a week at 50% coverage and I'd be bankrupt if I kept this printer. I'm getting rid of this ink guzzler right now, and will revert to HP because their cartridges last a reasonable amount of time.


August 31, 2009, 2:45 am

bought this printer in mar 09

printed only about 400 pages in black and white and shocked to find that black toner has run out

prior to this i had hP2550- bought this in 2005- lasted for 4 year!! never changed the toner

printed at least 4 copies of my thesis and routine letters

i agree with catherine is an ink guzzler..not sure simon how you managed 2500 pages black and white!!


September 30, 2009, 10:49 am

regarding "Sailes" & "Catherine Hogan's" comments on the short life of their toner cartridges, I wonder if they are commenting on the cartridges that ship with a new printer? These actually have written on the coloured paper strip that they are temporary. This is a common practice with printer manufacturers, and only have about a third of the toner that replacements have inside. I've just spent £180 on a complete set on full ones for when my temps run out, and I suppose Canon like others, do this on purpose for just this reason. All of a sudden a £130 printer turns into a £310 one! The low toner warning has come up for several weeks now, but I have just clicked on the "dismiss" box, and they are still going strong, I suppose an unnecessarily early warning to change toners is also financailly lucrative for the manufacturer, or am I being over cynical? As far as the printer is concernced I am very pleased with it, its my first colour laser and for everything except hi def photo's is great for home use. I bought the network version, and now all the family can print to it from all over the house, rather than having an inkjet in every room, and constantly getting nagged that they need new ink! It's too early for me to say whether £180 of toner will last longer than £180 of ink, but assuming there's not too much disparity, the speed & convenience of having one machine and one type of consumable to stock will make it worth it for me.


March 11, 2012, 6:51 am

An absolutely horrific printer and the biggest buying mistake I've made so far! And the comments above are correct - the black toner cartridge life is very short (and I'm not referring to the one that came with the printer).
While the print quality is very good, the printer is so slow that printing a document becomes a very frustrating experience. Word documents (if basic) usually print reasonably fast but printing a pdf document, something from the web etc. has the printer processing, processing, warming up, processing, warming up further, then printing a page, processing some more, doing a bit of internal cleaning, print one more page etc....
How a company such as Canon (I have a Canon ink jet and several other Canon products that I'm very happy with) can produce something that is such a pain to use in today's world is beyond me.


July 13, 2013, 10:04 am

Canon are SO dishonest with this printer. We bought 3 for 3 schools and have never waited so long for a printer before. They are forever calibrating or pausing to cool down between sheets. SLOW SLOW SLOW! One failed and it took Canon 3 months to "fix". When it decides not to print for one of the may reasons, you have to open up the status monitor to investigate. How expensive would an LCD panel be? Even the cheapest inkjets have this. We have blacklisted Canon products at our company as a result. I agree with the last reviewer. Big buying mistake.


March 14, 2014, 2:19 pm

The worst printer ever - do not buy - seriously... its not poor, its god awful.


March 19, 2014, 5:20 pm

Have been putting up with its re-calibration after every 1st page printed. But now getting an "Out of register colour correction" error which will not correct, even after cleaning etc. Only use OEM toners. Prints are now terrible with chromatic aberration. Now a discontinued model but I will not be buying Canon printers again either.


May 20, 2014, 4:08 am


please please answer my question!i need help! Have been putting up with its re-calibration after every 1st page printed. please help me.

Hoang Khai

February 21, 2015, 1:20 pm

Same here.. I regret buying this so much :'((

comments powered by Disqus