Canon i-Sensys LBP5050n review
With a low TCO and colour at the speed of mono, the LBP5050 is a great colour laser if you don't need network support.
Review Date: 13 Oct 2008
Price when reviewed: £223
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
This is the USB-only printer in Canon's LBP5050 colour laser range, which we originally looked at when it first launched in 2008. All the printers based around the LBP5050 hardware have come down in both price and running costs since their original release, making the range well worth revisiting.
At £155, the LBP5050 costs little more than a similarly specified mono laser, making it a good choice for users on a budget. Its print costs aren't quite so economical, at 10.1p per page of mixed black and colour but mono costs are a reasonable 1.6p.
It's easy to set up and the installer immediately detected the printer on our network, although we had to manually select it as our default printer. Four shallow toner cartridges occupy a drawer that extends from behind a door at the front of the printer. It's an elegant design, but space is limited, so there's no option of higher yield cartridges. Space is limited in the paper tray, too, which only has enough room for 150 sheets. There's also a single-sheet feed at the front for printing on envelopes and thicker paper stock, up to 230gsm.
The LBP5050 is a single-pass printer so, although its 9.8ppm mono print speed is mediocre at best, the LBP5050 managed to print our mixed colour document at a snappy 7ppm – faster than any similarly priced colour laser printer we've reviewed.
Both standard paper and envelopes printed without any serious curling. Mono text, colour and greyscale images were all reproduced to a high standard, and even tiny 5pt text was legible. Areas of bold colour were glossy and well defined, although red shades were too intense. This was simple to fix using the driver's colour adjustment settings, which include a simple click-and-drag colour-correction tool.
Each cartridge has its own integrated print head, so there aren't any hidden costs. All you have to buy is the toner, at around £38 for a 2,300 page black cartridge and £91 for three individual colour cartridges. This gives the LBP5050 a surprisingly low Total Cost of Ownership of £3,517 for even heavy use (around 2,000 mono and 1,000 colour pages monthly for three years).The printer' s maximum monthly duty cycle of 25,000 pages indicates that it should be able to handle the load of a couple of thousand pages on a regular basis. Light users can expect to say £322, while medium use comes in at £1005.
As indicated by our TCO graphs on page XX, it's not as good a deal for light users as Samsung's CLP-315w, though. It doesn't have network support and we slightly preferred the quality of the Samsung's graphics prints. We also have reservations about the LBP5050's mono print speeds. However, this is an excellent budget colour laser. Like most, printing in colour can be an expensive prospect, but we were impressed by its fast colour speeds and low ownership costs.
This is a good personal laser, but if you need a serious workgroup device with faster speeds and more features, we recommend Epson's Aculaser CX21N MFP.
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