Pantum P2050 review

This bargain mono laser marks a promising start from a new brand, but it's distinctly no-frills

26 Dec 2012
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
59.98
inc VAT

Specifications

mono laser, 20ppm print speed, USB, 236x380x260mm

Pantum is a new printer brand that’s focusing its attention at the lower end of the laser printer market. Although Pantum’s new, it's owned by the large Chinese consumables manufacturer Seine Technology, so it isn’t a fly-by-night outfit.

At a glance, Pantum's range of mono lasers seems comprehensive, but in essence there are only three models, each available with two or three finishes. The P2050 reviewed here is the black version of the mid-range model, rated at 20 pages per minute (ppm) and capable of a claimed 20,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. P1000-series models have a slower 16ppm speed, while the P3000 series claims 30ppm and a 50,000-page duty cycle. There are no network models; all connect by USB only.

Unpacked, the P2050 is a compact and rather neat device, standing out from the box-like crowd with some pleasing curves around the front. It's an unusually light printer, and its thin plastic construction soon becomes apparent. The cheap-feeling input tray is a simple fold-down device with no dust cover, and its paper guides feel recalcitrant and flimsy. The fold-up stop forming part of the 100-sheet output tray feels similarly flexible, while the consumable, which combines toner and drum in one unit, clatters into position.

It's not the most encouraging first impression, but things soon begin to improve. Pantum's software installer is refreshingly quick, and the driver utility it installs is simple to comprehend. All of the features we expect are present, including multiple-page printing and manual duplexing.

Pantum P2050

The Pantum P2050 is cheap to buy and cheap to run

Our first test print revealed the crisp black text we expect from a laser, but also that this isn't the quietest printer. There was a dull drone from the page transport, and the paper-picking mechanism made an almighty clatter. Although this was tiring during prints, the Pantum P2050's various motors and fans stopped within seconds and it quickly returned to silence for its standby mode, which used a continuous five watts of power; we couldn't detect a lower-power sleep state.

The P2050 came reasonably close to Pantum's claimed 20ppm speed, reaching 16.1ppm on mono text and, unusually, delivering greyscale graphics more quickly at 17.3ppm. Graphics, presentations and photographs were all very good for a budget mono laser, although they were spoiled slightly by some fine horizontal banding.

It's common for cheap printers to have high running costs, but in this class the P2050's 2.2p per page is not unreasonable. Combined with decent speed, looks and print quality, this makes it a good choice for less intensive use on a tight budget, provided you can live with its simplicity and a couple of rough edges.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Maximum native print resolution 600x600dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution 1,200x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 20ppm
Quoted time to first page, mono 10s

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.0 19s
Letter, time to first page 1.0 26s
25-page mono document - total time 0:1:33
Time for 24 pages mixed greyscale 1.0 1m 23s
Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 29s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 38s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 236x380x260mm
Weight 6.1kg
Noise (in normal use) 54dB(A)
Duty cycle 20,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4/legal
Maximum paper weight 163gsm
Standard paper inputs 2
Standard paper input capacity 150
Maximum paper inputs 2
Maximum paper input capacity 150
Output tray capacity 100 sheets
Duplex (code, cost if option) No

General

Printer technology mono laser
Language(s) GDI
Supported operating systems Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Standard printer memory 8MB
Maximum printer memory 8MB
Other laser features and options none

Buying Information

Price £60
Price of 2nd paper cassette N/A
Capacity of supplied black toner 700 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s) N/A
Estimated mono TCO - three years light £147.21
Estimated mono TCO - three years medium £508.34
Estimated mono TCO - three years heavy £2468.76
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.ukofficedirect.co.uk
Details www.pantum.com

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 29s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 38s