- Review Price: £1044.00
Konica Minolta makes a range of mono and colour laser printers and the magicolor 5450 lies towards the top of the range, sporting a PostScript interpreter as standard and claiming a print speed of 25ppm. It’s an in-line colour laser printer, designed for workgroup use, and is network compatible straight out of the box.
This is a big, square-cut printer, with the main paper tray taking up to 500 sheets (a full ream) sideways, so it feeds from left to right and exits onto the top cover, right to left. A secondary tray, taking another 100 sheets of paper or special media, unfolds from the right-hand side.
On top of the printer is a back-lit, four line by 16 character status display, which is used graphically as well as for text to provide information and hints in running the printer. There are just six control buttons with a circle of four around a central ‘Menu Select’ button and a separate one to cancel print jobs.
Strangely, the circle of control buttons works in the opposite way from most printer control sets. Normally, you’d expect the left and right buttons to cycle through the menu options at each menu level. The up button will takes you to the next level up and the down button makes a selection and takes you down a level. With the 5450, up and down cycle you through the options with left taking you up and right taking you down.
At the back of the left-hand side panel are sockets for USB 2.0, parallel and Ethernet networking. The side connection makes them easier to get at, but is less neat than a rear connection. Also at the side is a PictBridge socket, so you can connect a digital camera directly to the printer and print images to it, without PC control.
Extra 500-sheet paper trays, a duplexer and a stand/trolley are available as options, so the Magicolor 5450 can be expanded as its workload increases.
With an unboxed weight of 37kg, it’s a two-person lift and once in place, installation is fiddly. There are lots of tapes to remove and each of the toner and drum cartridges needs removal, untaping and reinsertion before everything starts to work. The installation guide runs to 30 separate steps.
Software installation is simpler; all you need do is select the PCL or PS driver (or both) and the setup program copies files and prints a test page. The printer driver is well specified and includes multi-page per sheet printing and both watermarks and overlays. The only thing we had trouble with was getting the printer to default to A4, rather than US Letter paper. A UK-sourced printer really should default to ISO paper sizes as standard.
This is a PostScript printer, but PCL drivers are provided, too. PS will give you the widest compatibility, particularly with Macintoshes on a mixed-platform network, but compared with PCL, the PostScript option is marginally slower.
The magicolor 5450 is particularly strong at printing colour. Both solid graphic and photo colours are clear and untroubled by banding. Photos in particular, enjoy a better colour gamut than most and are some of the most natural we’ve seen from a colour laser.
Print speeds are only average, with our five page text document giving just under 11ppm, and the colour graphics page around 6ppm. A 15 x 10cm photo took 35 seconds to complete. The doesn’t make the claimed 25ppm look very realistic.
The combined toner and drum units are available in two capacities, with the standard-yield producing up to 6,000, 5 per cent pages and the high-yield doubling that to 12,000 pages. The printer is provided with 3,000 page starter cartridges and this looks unnecessarily mean on a printer costing over £1,000. Why should a new purchaser be penalised by having low-yield cartridges?
The only other consumable is a waste toner bottle – the fuser unit is designed as a lifetime component, and is warranted for 120,000 pages. Talking of warranty, the Magicolor 5450 comes as standard with three year, on-site cover.
You can buy a set of three colour cartridges at a reduced price and using this together with a high-yield black cartridge gives a 5 per cent black page cost including paper of 1.80p, with 6.42p for 20 per cent colour. These are good figures, with the colour print cost at least 1p cheaper than from any colour laser we’ve tested recently.
Konica Minolta’s magicolor 5450 is a well-designed, colour laser printer for the small business or workgroup. It produces some of the best photo prints we’ve seen, from PC or direct from camera, and is relatively cheap to run. The high initial price reflects the maximum print speed, and though we couldn’t realise the throughput claims, this is still a high-quality printer.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 9