- Review Price: £939.00
Konica and Minolta merged in 2003 to form Konica Minolta, after Minolta had itself bought QMS to strengthen its position in the colour laser printer market. The 5440 DL is a modern colour laser printer, intended for the small workgroup, and competes with similar machines from the likes of HP, Epson and OKI.
This is a big, heavy machine – and the TrustedReviews staff had to don their trusty hernia belts to lift its over 35kg mass onto the desk. A large integral paper feed tray sits under the printer and can take a full ream (500 sheets) of paper at a time. A multipurpose manual feed tray unfolds from the side and can take a further 100 sheets of paper or specialist media such as envelopes or card. Paper feeds to an integral tray in the printer’s top cover.
A neat, backlit, 16 by two line display shows status messages, a crude toner level indicator and menu options, as you work through the well-structured control menus. The display is particularly easy to use, as you can print out a full-colour menu map which shows where everything is. Controls comprise a ring of four buttons for navigation, with a central select button and a small orange cancel button beside it.
At the back are sockets for USB 2 and direct Ethernet connection – you can set the Magicolor 5440 DL up as a network print server. A second USB socket is intended for directly connecting a digital camera, though the firmware for this feature has yet to be released.
If you’re given the option to have the Magicolor 5440 DL set up for you, take it. There are over 30 safety tapes, as well as chocks, spacers, foam pieces and pull-tags. The installation guide runs to 29 steps and you need to work through them carefully and in order, otherwise you’ll be left with the same feeling you get with a new shirt; wondering if there’s still a pin somewhere you’ve forgotten to remove. Konica Minolta should work at simplifying the installation.
Given all this attention to packaging and securing anything that might move, it’s unusual to find a colour laser printer supplied with all four cartridges already in place. You have to undo transit screws and pull tapes to release the toner, but this is easier than unpacking separate cartridges and installing them. The supplied cartridges yield only 3,000 pages, half that of even the standard yield ones, which seems mean on a £900 plus product.
Installing Konica Minolta’s software from the CD provided is very easy and the disc also includes user and reference manuals in PDF format. The printer driver includes support for watermarks and overlays, impositions of up to 16 pages per sheet and some control of colour. There’s little in the way of extra utilities.
Once the printer has calibrated itself, a one-off process taking around three minutes, it produces some very respectable speeds. Our five-page black text document printed in just 31 seconds and the page of mixed text and colour graphics finished in a breakneck time of just 12 seconds. Even our 5 by 3 inch photo sample took just 20 seconds.
Given that the Magicolor 5440 DL is rated at 25ppm in both black and white and colour, we saw less than half this in black and white and around a quarter of the speed in colour. Even so, for most small workgroup usage, speed from this machine will be adequate.
The print quality is very good. Black text comes out clean and dense with no toner spatter and even small font sizes are clear and well formed at the default resolution of 600dpi. Mix in some colour graphics and you still have a very good-looking page with even, vivid colours and a semi-gloss sheen which is attractive and professional.
Our colour photographic test piece, printed at the maximum resolution of 2,400 x 1200dpi, looks clear and generally well detailed. Although some detail is lost in the shadows, colour gradations are very smooth and natural and foreground detail is well composed, although something less than the resolution setting might suggest.
Each of the Magicolor 5440 DL’s toner cartridges comes complete with its own photoconductor drum, so there are no other consumables to buy, except a £15 toner collection bottle every 10,000 colour pages and a transfer belt every 120,000 prints. This belt is considered a spare part rather than a consumable by Konica Minolta and we think that’s reasonable on a colour laser printer. Unless you’re a very heavy user, 120,000 prints should be outside the service life of the machine.
All of which means that using the high yield toner cartridges, designed to last for 12,000 pages at five per cent cover, you should be paying something like 1.48p for a five per cent black page and 6.39p for a twenty per cent colour one. These costs are very reasonable for this class of colour laser and counterbalance its relatively high asking price.
The Magicolor 5440 DL is on the large side and time consuming to unpack and expensive, but you’ll quickly forgive it these facts thanks to its high quality output and decent turn of speed. If you’re in the market for a colour laser for a small office, the Magicolor 5440 DL shoud be high on your shortlist.
Score in detail
Print Speed 9
Print Quality 9