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Ricoh SP 3600DN review

Front side view, Ricoh SP 3600DN
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £169
inc VAT

Fast and robust, with good print quality and low costs, Ricoh's SP 3600DN is a winner

Ricoh’s SP 3600DN is a fast mono printer for a small office or workgroup. It’s designed for fairly hard use, with maximum duty of 50,000 pages per month, and a claimed speed of up to 30 pages per minute (ppm). It doesn’t support wireless networking and there’s no front-panel USB port for walk-up printing, but there is a wired Ethernet port at the rear. Moreover, duplex (double-sided) printing is standard, and the maximum print resolution is 1,200dpi – more detailed than the 600dpi you get on entry-level printers.

Print driver settings for the SP 3600DN, default page

The basic settings in Ricoh’s print driver are simple enough… Detailed print driver settings for the SP 3600DN

…but things are less clear when you head into the detailed settings

The SP 3600DN feels built to cope with clumsy office use. The 250-sheet paper tray is sturdy and comes with a handy gauge to let you know when it’s running low on paper. At the right there’s also a size wheel, which serves to tell you and the printer what size paper is loaded – provided you remember to change it when necessary. Above, the 100-sheet bypass tray feels bullet-proof, while the stop at the front of the 125-sheet output tray feels similarly robust. Unusually at this price, you can upgrade this printer with an additional 250- or 500-sheet cassette, for a maximum 850-sheet capacity.

Web admin interface for the SP 3600DN 

Use the web interface to administer the SP 3600DN remotely

This printer arrives with a standard, 20,000-page drum and a 1,500-page starter toner, after which replacements for the latter can be had with either a 3,000- or 6,000-page capacity. Stick to the bigger cartridge and costs work out at a low 1.2p per page, or 1.3p if you include the maintenance box you’ll need after 120,000 pages. We doubt many home users will get that far, but very heavy users could buy this printer and produce 100,000 A4 pages for about £1,300.

We found the SP 3600DN quite slow to start printing unless its cooling fans were still running from a previous job, in which case the time to first page (TTFP) was about 16 seconds. Once they had stopped, we timed this at 20-25 seconds, depending on how long the printer had been idle. It soon made up for the hesitant start, though, despatching our 25-page text test at a rate of 23.8ppm. Over 100 pages it reached 28.6ppm.

Scan of a crumpled envelope, printed by the SP 3600DN

Text quality was predictably excellent, with dark black characters and razor-sharp outlines. Graphics were also good, although the deep black toner made them a little too dark in places, and there was a slight trace of banding – a common vice in laser-class printers. We saw the same issues with photos, but otherwise these were unusually good for this class of printer, with crisp details and subtle shading without obvious half-toning artefacts. Unfortunately, we couldn’t print DL envelopes without bad creases appearing in them.

This printer is overkill for light home use, but its speed, durability, duplex printing and low costs make it ideal for anyone wanting to print a lot on a modest budget. In particular, the availability of paper tray upgrades means it could grow with a small firm or business.

TechnologyMono LED
Maximum print resolution1,200×1,200dpi
Number of colours (cartridges)1 (1)
Standard interfacesUSB, Ethernet
Optional interfacesNone
Dimensions (HxWxD)268x370x392mm
Duty cycle (pages per month)50,000 (maximum)
Paper handling
Maximum paper sizeA4/Legal
Maximum paper weight162gsm
Standard paper trays (capacity)2 (350)
Maximum paper trays (capacity)3 (850)
Supported operating systemsWindows XP or newer, Mac OS X 10.6 or newer, Android, iOS
LanguagesPCL 5e, PCL 6, PostScript 3
Other featuresBacklit mono LCD screen
Buying information
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Price£169 inc VAT
Consumable parts and pricesSP 4500E black toner (407340), 6,000 pages (ISO/IEC 19798) £55. SP 4500 photoconductor unit (407324), 20,000 pages, £49. SP 3600 maintenance kit (407328), 120,000 pages, £126.
Quoted life of supplied black toner1,500 pages (ISO/IEC 19798)
Quoted life of supplied colour tonerN/A
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT1.26p
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)N/A
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)1.26p
Capacity of supplied drum/s (pages)20,000 pages
Part code906231

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