Magicolor 2450 and Magicolor 5450

Introduction

Over the years I haven’t had much luck with Konica Minolta printers. They have always used an odd home-made version of PostScript, which, up until now, hasn’t performed as well as the real thing. So it was something of a surprise to find that its two latest models perform very well indeed.

It’s not just the emulated PostScript that made me think the Magicolor 2450 was an unlikely candidate for a good printer. The price tag of just £449 (excluding VAT) just doesn’t seem a realistic price for a colour laser printer. I’m very pleased to say that all my preconceptions were wrong. While the 2450 won’twin any races, it output extremely high-quality prints.

The reason for the low price is due to it using a previous generation of print engine. The four-pass mechanism means that each page goes around the drum four times getting another colour each time. It’s a perfectly good way of doing things, it just takes a little longer. One upside to that, though, is the fact that mono prints are four times faster than the colour ones, at 20 pages per minute.

Having pages printed at five per minute is quite acceptable for colour prints so long as the quality is good. Older four-pass models I have tested over the years suffer from poor registration, shadowing and halo effects. None of these were evident in the 2450’s output, which is as good as I’ve seen from any colour laser.

If your needs are more demanding that the 2450’s capabilities, the 5450 offers a more sprightly option. Featuring a single-pass engine capable of 25 colour pages a minute, the 5450 goes like the clappers. It offers a Gigabit Ethernet connection or USB 2.0 – either of which help speed the print jobs to the processor, which is a 667MHz G4. The fast processor means that the first page out is quick too.

Despite the high performance, the printer is still quite compact with a small footprint of 520-x-420mm. It sits quite high which gives easy access to the toner cartridges. There are only five user-replaceable consumables, so it is a far cry from older colour lasers with as many as a dozen different consumables. Simplicity is the name of the game here, the printereven ships with the consumables pre-installed.

The long-lasting consumables mean that Konica Minolta claims ultra-low running costs – though the initially installed toner cartridges are only half full to keep the price down.

One unique feature is the PictBridge connection on the front. More commonly found on inkjet printers, PictBridge allows direct printing from compatible digital cameras. However, at the time of press the driver wasn’t working in OS X 10.4, so keep an eye on the Konica Minolta Web site for an update.

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