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Color Laser Printers: Fast and Affordable!

Konica Minolta Magicolor 5430DL

Konica Minolta is one of the few manufacturers that builds its own printing engines, and the one in the Magicolor 5430DL is one of the fastest - at least on paper. But while its performance is indeed attractive, the quality of its output leaves something to be desired.

Ergonomics And Functions

At a whopping 92.4 pounds (42 kg), this printer is one of the heaviest and bulkiest on the market. That's due at least in part to its use of very large toner cartridges, requiring an increase in the overall volume of the housing. In terms of options, this is one of the most complete printers we tested, offering, for example, an additional set of trays for a total capacity of 1,250 sheets and duplex printing. However, the noise level is higher than average, which might be a problem in confined spaces.

Printing Speeds

While not up to the manufacturer's claim of 20 ppm, our tests did clock the Magicolor 5430DL at a respectable 14.2 ppm with office documents. The time to print the first page was also quite good, at 20 seconds, even if the warm-up time coming out of standby mode sometimes seemed long.

Print Quality

This printer's engine had a hard time dealing with highly detailed images. Our Excel graph pointed out its shortcomings: several light-colored lines weren't displayed. The same was true of our bitmap, where the colors had a tendency to be too red and were generally dull and lifeless.

Cost Per Page

Thanks to the very large capacity of its cartridges, the Magicolor 5430DL scored a very reasonable cost per page: 2 cents in black and 9 cents in color. But to get those results you'll have to invest in the high-capacity toner cartridges, or the cost will be 15% to 20% higher.

Conclusion

The Magicolor 5430DL is for people who need speed more than quality and want an economical model with a network port. Its bulk and noise level make it unsuited to home users, but it would work well for a small company where it could be shared by several users.

  • veffari
    I honestly don't feel any closer after going through this interview. Consumer-end color laser printers have their real limitations. I have one (Minolta) that's been very useful for years but not useful enough.
    How about sticking an envelope in the printer. What happens then, does it come out wrinkled? Does the text get evenly put on? Or a cardstock, does the printer handle it and what weights and types? Does the cardstock come out bent? Do the printers handle vellum paper, transparencies, do they have to be hand-fed or does the printer jam when the user gets more creative than your average office drone?
    Is the program interface quick and easy to understand or a time-eater?
    I feel the reviewers should get a little more creative here. A review measuring speed is ok, but in reality versatility is more important than a sceond or two here or there on paper outputs. It makes no real-world difference if one machine does 23 seconds or the other 24 seconds, really. Unless were talking 1 minute per page vs 45 seconds: In the end, is the machine going to print nice brochures that have not to bright colors or certain colors that become to vivid and muddy? Or is it just good for a quick presentation for an informal meeting? Does it easily perform on commonly found laser copy paper? Is it easy to calibrate colors with Photoshop? Do you recommend certain paper types that produce beautiful results and guide us to who makes them so we can use the machine better after we buy it on your recommendation?
    And how about doing a review on professional level color laser printers? Like $1000-$4000 models. Some of those have really amazing qualities in text and photos, but I'd like to know how they compare. After all my dozen broken inkjets I realized long time ago they are there to perform temporarily and designed to not really be workhorses.
    So how does it last? Does the printer last and does the output last? Do you put printouts in the sun, on the radiator, or spray steam on them for humidity simulation and such?
    The output image files are a bit confusing and could be expanded on. Side by side comparisons where the reviewer notices differences. Not just stick them in the article.
    Boy, I have more questions after reading the review than when I started reading. Much of the info is in semi-techno or owners manual style. It would be nice to get beyond it and TEST the machines and have strong opinions and say why.
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