Konica Minolta Magicolor 2500W

At $300 for a color laser printer, the Konica Minolta magicolor 2500W doesn't need much else to make it interesting.

The Konica Minolta magicolor 2500W isnt the first $300 (okay, $299 direct) color laser Ive looked at—that honor belongs to the HP Color LaserJet 1600. But it still earns big points for its low price. In fact, much of the printers appeal rests squarely on that price; though its speed and output quality are acceptable, theyre nothing to write home about.

At $299, the 2500W is an obvious potential choice for either a home printer or a personal printer in an office. Just keep in mind that if youre tight on space, its size may make it an awkward office mate. At 13.4 by 16.9 by 19.8 inches (HWD) including the paper tray, the 2500W is large enough that Id be more comfortable with it near my desk than on it. The good news is that, at 42.8 pounds, its relatively light for a color laser—so you shouldnt have too much trouble if you have to move it into place yourself.

Setup is even easier than with most other sub-$500 color lasers. There are no packing materials to remove from the toner cartridges, so you dont even have to take them out of the printer and put them back in. Just remove the shipping tape and restraints, snap in the paper tray, load paper, run the automated setup program, and plug in the USB cable when the program tells you to do so.

The 2500W holds a four-pass engine rated at 20 pages per minute for monochrome printing and 5 ppm for color. According to Konica Minolta, the engine is almost identical to the one in the Konica Minolta magicolor 2400W that the 2500W replaces. The most significant differences are some minor design changes aimed at making the printer a little quieter. Not surprisingly, the 2500W turned in times almost identical to the 2400W on our tests (using QualityLogics hardware and software, www.qualitylogic.com).

The 2500W finished our business applications suite in 19 minutes 53 seconds (compared with 19:52 for the 2400W). Thats slower than the 18:53 total for the HP 1600, the 2500Ws most direct competitor. Keep in mind, however, that the HP 1600 prints color in a single pass, rather than four passes, and is rated at 8 ppm for both color and monochrome. That means its much slower for monochrome printing, and the relative speed youll actually see from these printers depends entirely on how often you print in color instead of black.

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