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Pantum P2050 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £59.98
inc VAT

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

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

Maximum native print resolution600x600dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution1,200x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A420ppm
Quoted time to first page, mono10s

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.019s
Letter, time to first page 1.026s
25-page mono document – total time0:1:33
Time for 24 pages mixed greyscale 1.01m 23s
Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.129s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.038s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB
Optional printer interfacesnone
Noise (in normal use)54dB(A)
Duty cycle20,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight163gsm
Standard paper inputs2
Standard paper input capacity150
Maximum paper inputs2
Maximum paper input capacity150
Output tray capacity100 sheets
Duplex (code, cost if option)No


Printer technologymono laser
Supported operating systemsWindows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Standard printer memory8MB
Maximum printer memory8MB
Other laser features and optionsnone

Buying Information

Price of 2nd paper cassetteN/A
Capacity of supplied black toner700 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
Warrantyone year RTB

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.129s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.038s