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Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600W review

Kat Orphanides
21 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
143
inc VAT

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Specifications

Konica Minolta's Magicolor 1600W is a compact colour laser printer with an office-friendly black and beige colour scheme.

Physical setup was simple but driver installation is potentially troublesome. You have to wait until the printer has finished initialising itself before connecting it to your PC to complete the driver installation.

Although the 1600W lacks a display, the Remote Panel utility usually mirrors the controls available on the front panel. This shows the status of the printer and provides access to a variety of management tools such as energy-saving options and consumable monitoring.

The printer takes four compact toner cartridges, which click into place on a wheel. Unlike many cartridge-loading systems of this type, it's easy to rotate the right toner into position thanks to a dedicated button on the front of the printer. The 1600W comes with starter cartridges containing a meagre 500 pages' worth of toner. Unusually for such a small printer, high-yield cartridges are available. However, these are still relatively small, holding only 2,500 pages' worth of toner.

Colour printing on personal lasers is remarkably expensive. Each of the high-yield cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges costs £91, producing a high colour cost of 10.9p per page. Mono print costs are also rather high at 2.8p per page, with black cartridges costing £71. The £85 imaging drum needs to be replaced every 45,000 mono and 11,250 colour pages, and the £69 fuser unit lasts for 50,000 pages. Neither of these should need replacing in the life of printer.

This is a personal laser, so is intended only for light or occasional use. Light usage of 2,400 mono and 1,200 colour pages over three years will cost a relatively reasonable £487. If you print more, then the total cost of ownership becomes scarily high. Even medium use of 18,000 mono and 9,000 colour pages over three years will cost a whopping £1,732.

Print quality is excellent, particularly on photos, shaded charts and illustrations. It doesn't produce the very shiny appearance we've seen from some lasers, though such a finish is a matter of personal preference. Our colour prints looked glossy and mono text was sharp, even at small font sizes. Mono text printed at a respectable 17.9ppm, but the 4.6ppm colour speed will require rather more patience.

The 1600W is clearly aimed at the same people who might buy Samsung's CLP-315 (Labs, Shopper 250). The two printers have similar print quality and print costs, but the CLP-315 is slightly smaller and cheaper to buy. The 1600W is a high-quality printer, but it's just edged out by the CLP-315.