A colour laser printer for £200 still takes a minute or two to come to terms with; a few years back you’d be looking at 10 times that price. Even so, to get the purchase price this low has meant a couple of corners being trimmed.
The most obvious of these is the lack of a main paper tray; the 250-sheet internal tray is available only as an optional extra. The only way to feed paper in is to pull down what most people would think of as a special media feeder from the front of the machine. This sticks out quite a way from the front of the machine and is a bit flimsy, so you’ll have to be careful not to knock it.
The control panel is pretty minimal, too, with a single button and three status indicators, and there’s just a single USB 2 socket for a PC connection at the back. Setting the printer up is reasonably straightforward, though it’s a fairly substantial printer because it uses a carousel mechanism.
This means the colour toners are rotated round on a carousel within the printer to print the four colour layers on each print. Each toner cartridge and the photoconductor drum slide in through a top hatch and are designed to last for varying numbers of pages.
The black cartridge should print 5,000, five-percent-cover pages and each of the colour ones should manage 2,000 or 4,000, depending on whether you pick standard or high yield units. 2,000-page cartridges are supplied with the printer. The drum lasts between 5,000 and 20,000 pages, depending on the mix of black and colour print jobs.
Printing is not particularly quick, because of the four passes the paper has to make for each colour print. We managed over 3ppm for a colour page, not far off the rated 4ppm, but only 4ppm for black, when Canon rates the machine at 19ppm. There’s a fair amount of noise during printing, too, with peaks of over 60dBA; the LaserShot LBP5200 makes itself felt aurally.
The price of consumables gives a cost per page for black of around 2.1p and for colour of 8.7p. The first is quite reasonable, but the second is towards the top of the range for printers in this price bracket. Print quality is generally good, particularly for text and business graphics, but photo print is marred by some banding.
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