Reviews

Ricoh SP 150SUw printer review: a great little laser MFP for SMBs

Tiny, cheap, and quick to print, Ricoh's SP 150SUw is a good compact laser all-in-one

Price
£87
  • Fast, good-quality printing; Smart and compact design
  • Low scanning at lower quality settings; More costly than an inkjet

Laser printers aren't only made for offices. Here to make that very point is Ricoh's SP 150SUw. Small and compact, it's also an all-in-one device that's able to print, scan and make copies at the drop of a hat.

Features and design

There's nothing particularly fancy about Ricoh's SP 150SUw. For instance, if you want to print on both sides of the paper you have to do it manually. Controls are few and far between, too. There's only one power switch joined by another button that makes single photocopies. The paper input is pretty basic, too. There's just the 50-sheet paper input tray, and as for a paper output tray, there isn't one. Although if you keep the printer on a desk with plenty of space, the printed pages will stack nicely on top of one another as they print out.

Installing the printer is easy enough, and Ricoh's software is simple to use. However, if it loses Wi-Fi connectivity you might need to try it in a different space as - in our experience - it can drop off the network if situated in an awkward place, such as far away from your WiFi router.

Performance

In terms of print quality, the SP 150SUw does a great job. As predectied, our tests proved printed text was exceptionally black and crisp, but graphics were also cleanly rendered with minimal banding - something that can often haunt cheap laser printers. Photos prints were pretty good, too, which is likely thanks to the printer's claimed 1,200x600dpi maximum resolution. In our page burning tests, the Ricoh machine smashed out the first page in just 10 seconds, completing the full 25 pages of the test at more than 20 pages per minute (ppm). Graphics printing was also snappy, completing this at 15ppm.

One downside we found while testing the SP 150SUw was that scans were comparatively slow, particularly at lower resolutions. For example, a simple A4-sized preview took approximately 29 seconds, while scanning the same page at either 150 or 300 dots per inch (dpi) took 32 seconds. However, capturing a 6x4" photo at the maximum possible resolution of 1,200dpi took just over a minute, which is rather impressive. Scan quality was also less impressive. The TWAIN scan interface lacks an easy auto exposure feature, and without manual tweaking we found that scanned documents were underexposed, meaning white paper took on a blue tint. Having said that, the default settings work much better for photos, which were captured with realistic colour and displayed surprisingly good dynamic range. They weren't so sharply focused, though.

As for photocopying, the SP 150SUw completed a full page copy at a decent enough speed, taking 15 seconds per page, although the results were a little darker than we would have liked. 

Running costs

Cheap laser printers often prove to be counter-intuitively expensive to run - perhaps that's the price you pay for saving on the initial cost. Nevertheless, the SP 150SUw is no exception. Even when it's using the 1,500-page 'high-yield' consumable, printing costs work out at around 3p per page, which surprisingly is more than many equivalent inkjets. For example, Epson's WorkForce WF3620DWF works out at about 1.3p. However, the SP 150SUw is most certainly designed for sporadic use, and in those situations, an inkjet's running costs would increase due to the ink wasted by head cleaning.

Verdict

As a home office or SMB printer, its fast printing and compact design make the Ricoh SP 150SUw an excellent choice. However, for those that can't really stretch their budget to over the 100 mark, we'd suggest not to rule out Ricoh completely as the SP 150SUw is the top-of-the-range model, you can pick it up without wireless networking (the SP 150SU) for around 75. 

Verdict

Ricoh’s SP 150SUw is a quiet, fast and unobtrusive home Multi-function printer, proving that there's still a case to be made for laser printers in home office and SMB environments. There’s not a whole bunch of fancy features, but it does the job, all while taking up less space thanks to its compact design.

TechnologyMono laser
Maximum print resolution1,200x600dpi
Max optical scan resolution (Output bit depth)1,200x1,200dpi (24-bit)
Dimensions (HxWxD)137x350x275mm
Weight7.5kg
Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
WarrantyOne year RTB
Manufacturer's websitewww.ricoh.co.uk
Part code408005
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