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Ricoh Aficio GX3000s review

Ricoh's gel ink technology makes this printer/scanner a little different, but is it right for your business?

As mentioned, the machine's spec sheet and its manual disagree on a number of aspects of the machine. The spec sheet quotes speeds of 29ppm for both black and colour print, while the manual goes for a more conservative 18.5ppm. Compared with our test results, both are optimistic, with the spec sheet figure somewhere on a small planet near Betelgeuse.

In fact, our five-page black text print took 32 seconds, giving a speed of just over 9ppm, while the 20-page document took just under two minutes, or 10.2ppm. Our five-page black text and colour graphics print returned 7.7ppm. These are all reasonable speeds, particularly for an inkjet printer, but they're nowhere near Ricoh's claims.

Print quality varies with type of document. Black text isn't wonderful, with a ragged and slightly striped appearance, indicative of under inking. While it's OK for internal documentation, you might think twice before presenting it to a customer. Colour print is better, with bright colours and reasonable coverage, though again there's some paper fibre show-through. Registration of text over colour is good.

Photo prints at default and high-resolution are good, with smooth colour gradations and decent detail in both brightly lit and shadowed areas of images. This printer is not designed primarily for printing photos, though.

With the relatively high yields of the reasonably-priced ink cartridges, page costs come out generally low. The black page cost at 1.55p racks up well against both inkjet and laser competition and the colour page cost of 9.34p is also reasonable in this market.

So where exactly would the Aficio GX3000s fit in your business? Although Ricoh publishes no figures for duty cycle, you're looking at a machine that's suitable for the same kind of workload as a mid-range colour laser. It would sit quite well in a small office or servicing a workgroup of two to five people.

Given the quality of its plain paper output, though, and the price of colour laser printers, it's not easy to see why you would take the gel ink route unless, ironically enough, you also have a requirement for photo printing on specialist media. This, the printer does much better than any colour laser.

Verdict

A big, colour multifunction machine using Ricoh’s gel ink technology. It’s a solid and reliable device for printing, scanning and copying and has a low TCO, but doesn’t fax and has only USB connection. Print quality, particularly black text on plain paper, is more workaday than holiday in the Maldives.

DPI: 3,600 x 1,200dpi enhanced, 29/29ppm A4 colour printer Paper tray: 1 x 250 sheet paper tray Duty cycle: Not stated Connections: USB 2, optional Ethernet Languages: RPCS (Windows GDI) Features: Gel ink, duplex as standard

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