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Colour laser multifunction printers

The new breed of colour laser MFPs throws down the gauntlet to inkjet printers.
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01 .Introduction

Colour laser MFPs

This article is no longer current.

Our latest reviews of Multifunction printers and Standard printers include inkjets, and both colour and mono laser printers.

We test 10 colour laser MFPs ranging from $327 to $882

There’s been a changing of the guard in personal printing. Colour laser printers have long been thought of as large, expensive and exclusive to business workplaces, while inkjet printers were the low-cost alternative for personal use.

But since our last test of  personal colour laser printers, new models that scan, copy and fax have become a viable alternative to inkjet MFPs. In many cases, you’ll pay a bit more upfront for a colour laser MFP but you may be much better off in the long term once running costs are factored in. We bought and tested 10 models to see how they compare for performance, ease of use, features and value.

Models tested

Brother MFC-9120CN
Canon MF8050Cn
Dell 1355cn
Fuji-Xerox CM205B
Fuji-Xerox CM305df
HP Color LaserJet Pro CM1415fn
Konica-Minolta Magicolor 1690MF
Kyocera Mita FS-C1020MFP
Lexmark X543dn
Samsung CLX3185FW

How we test

We test MFPs for ease of use, print speed, output quality, cost per page and running costs, including power consumption.

Print quality is assessed using test documents that showcase type at various sizes, fine line work, gradations in tone, flat tone areas of various percentages, solid areas, patterns, detailed colour graphics and a colour image that includes skin tones.

Print speed is determined by printing text and graphics and recording print times for black-only and colour documents. The timing runs are done multiple times to ensure consistency.

Ease of use takes into account hardware setup; software installation; help and instructions; predefined profiles and ease of profile creation if available.

Energy use is measured while repeatedly printing a test document over a set period. This is repeated with the printer in idle mode and again in standby mode. An annual power consumption figure is determined based on an average usage scenario over one year, based on a cost of 20c per kWh.

Toner use is measured by loading a new black toner cartridge and printing standard test pages until no more can be printed without loss of quality. A similar process is followed for colour cartridges. Cartridges are weighed before and after printing and the toner used calculated.


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