We test printers at their default settings, so had quality priority set, but even then we completed our five-page black text print in 33 seconds, with the text and colour graphics pages taking just five seconds longer. This gives a black print speed of 9.1ppm and a colour one of 7.9ppm, faster than the quoted speed for the first time in aeons.
Ricoh makes very little provision for the machine printing photos as, for example, it’s very hard to load 15 x 10cm photo blanks. Ricoh also doesn’t quote any particular photo paper for use in the machine, though the driver does have an option for glossy paper.
We used Ilford’s Galerie Smooth High Gloss, as it’s designed for both dye and pigment-based inks and this produced very good results – Ricoh should make more of photo printing. Colours are natural and the top resolution of 1,200dpi produces smooth tints and well reproduced fine detail, including in darker, shadowed areas.
Surprisingly, plain text prints are not as good. While the black ink does dry quickly, it doesn’t fully cover the fibres of plain paper, so you see white lines showing through, even under a low-magnification loupe. To the naked eye, it just appears that the text is not quite as dark or sharply finished as it should be. Colours in business graphics don’t show the problem as badly.
Although the cartridges have a high-capacity, which means you won’t need to attend to them often, they vary in price between £26 and £33, giving a cost per page of 2.58p for black and 12.46p full-colour. Both these costs are high, but the colour cost is at the top end of those colour printers we’ve tested.
As a first generation of printer using a newly developed technology, Ricoh’s Aficio GX2500 has several things going for it. It prints fast, certainly for this category of ink-jet and a true colour print speed of nearly 8ppm beats a good few entry-level colour lasers. While the machine is also commendably inexpensive, it’s not that cheap to run. This may change, though, as the number of suppliers of its cartridges increases. Ricoh should add photo handling to the machine, as it does this well, but currently only easily on A4 paper.
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