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Canon introduces All-in-One colour toner cartridges.

By Richard Green

With the release of the new Lasershot LBP-5000, Canon have introduced their first colour toner printer to feature all-in-one cartridges.

We compare this new concept colour toner printer with two of its conventional rivals, which utilise separate toner cartridges and an OPC imaging unit. From the same stable is the recently released Canon LBP-5200 which although marginally more expensive is aimed at the same market segment and from Epson the Aculaser C1100 which has been available for over two years but continues to lead the field in this class.

The Lasershot LBP-5000 prints colour pages at an impressive 8 pages per minute – twice the speed of the recently released LBP-5200 and better than the 5ppm of the Epson AcuLaser C1100, this compares very favourably to colour laser printers from any other manufacturer. It is less impressive when it comes to text print speeds, also at 8 pages per minute, which is relatively snail like compared to the 19ppm of the LBP-5200 or the 25ppm achieved by its rival the Epson AcuLaser C1100.

One would expect top-quality colour prints from Canon and whilst the results are very good they are not class leading. Business graphics involving lots of solid colour as in charts and graphics proved to be excellent with bold, clean accurate colours, even greys which colour laser printers can find difficult were good. Text as you would expect was flawless but again not class leading as Canon may have hoped, being on a par with the LBP-5200 but once again beaten by the Epson AcuLaser C1100.

The all-in-one configuration of the Canon LBP-5000 gives it a considerable advantage in space saving terms, being neater than the LBP-5200 and positively sylph like compared to the large Epson.

Both the Canon units are easy to set up although again without a separate drum unit the LBP-5000 was marginally quicker to get started. By comparison the Epson was a bit of a chore with all items being individually packed it takes some time to fit all the consumables. Installing drivers for all three units was straightforward.

Given a price expectation with careful on-line searching of under £200 this places the LBP-5000 squarely in the budget colour laser range where competition is fierce.

The new All-in-One cartridges, which contain both the toner and the OPC imaging drum, as is common practice in the mono range of laser printers, are already available at a discount from the likes of Cartridge Concept.

The benefits of this type of design are less mess and maintenance worries as all the essential imaging components are contained in one unit assuring continuous high quality output throughout the life cycle of the cartridge. This life cycle is however the main concern with these cartridges as the volume of toner they contain is relatively low, the Black cartridge (CRG707bk) has a capacity of 2,500 pages @ 5% coverage and the three colour cartridges (CRG707C,M,Y) print a mere 2,000 pages. By comparison the Black cartridge in the LBP-5200 has a 5,000-page capacity and the Epson is rated at 4,000 pages. Colour cartridges compare more favourably with the LBP-5200 also yielding 2,000 pages and the Epson only 1,500 per colour, however both of these printers offer high yield colour cartridges of 4,000 page capacity which are better value.

Full specifications of the Canon printers can be found at Canon and the Epson printers at the Epson site

Although the Canon LBP-5000 offers many worthy features and probably points the way ahead for budget colour laser printers it is its mono print features which let it down, its slow print speed and small capacity black cartridge leaves it in second place to its rival from Epson, the class leading C1100.
About the Author
Richard lives in Edinburgh, occasionally writing for the personal finance blog Cashzilla, and listens to music no one else likes.

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