Konica Minolta Magicolor 5570 Review and Cartridge Choice

By: Alan Wilson

The 5570 is the latest colour laser to join the established magicolor family. With a quoted top speed of 35ppm for mono and 30ppm for colour, it looks capable of satisfying high-volume workgroup printing and uses Konica Minolta's Simitri HD polymerised toner technology, which claims to deliver superior print quality.

Simitri HD uses toner particles that are uniform in shape, and Konica Minolta claims this allows the printer to deliver finer detail and use less toner than the competition. It also claims the toner melts at much lower temperatures, allowing the printer to save up to 15% on power consumption and reducing paper curling. Plus, it emits 40% less CO2 than conventional toner.

We have no arguments with build quality, and despite being only slightly larger than Lexmark's C532dn the 5570 weighs a hefty 44kg fully loaded. Standard paper handling is spread across a 500-sheet base tray and 100-sheet motorised MP tray, and you can add two more 500-sheet base trays. Along with a decent processor, the printer sports 256MB of memory, and an extra 512MB costs ?190 which is very reasonable.

As is the norm nowadays, the printer comes supplied with low volume starter cartridges, in this case 6,000 page yield cartridges which give a cost per page of 7.1p for colour and 1.3p for mono output.

As soon as these are depleted they should be replaced with high yield 12,000 page cartridges and this will reduce the cost per page to a more respectable 5.8p for colour and 1.1p for mono. Another 0.1 p per page can be shaved from these costs by ordering all colours together in the form of the Toner Value Pack. As yet there are no compatible cartridges available, but when they are introduced further running cost savings will be able to be made.

And so to print quality, and it's here the 5570 and its Simitri HD toner scores, as output is far superior to many competing printers. The printer produced some of the best text quality we've seen, with razor-sharp standard font sizes and even the smallest point sizes boldly produced with no discernable smudging. Mono photos don't suffer from any colour cast, and the levels of detail are very good. Colour photos revealed a lot of detail but suffered from slight banding in large areas of a single colour - something the HP Laserjet CP4005n didn't have a problem with. However, if it hadn't been for the banding, we'd have had a tough time telling them apart, as both delivered a vibrancy in our test photos that's often lacking in colour lasers. The quoted mono print speeds are slightly optimistic, as we clocked a 35-page basic Word document at 1min 8secs for an average of 31ppm. However, colour printing was on the money, with our 24-page DTP document completed in 48 seconds for a tidy 30ppm.

The magicolor 5570 may not be able to offer the same output quality as HP's Laserjets, but it certainly matches them in terms of value and speed. The printer is well built, and its low printing costs should put it on any enterprise's printing short list.

All in all a solid colour workhorse that delivers good speed and quality colour printing with moderate running costs should let this one onto your shortlist.

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