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Ricoh Aficio SG 2100N review

Simon Handby
18 Nov 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
53
inc VAT

Despite promising claims, the Aficio SG 2100N is neither as fast as a laser nor as cheap to run as an inkjet

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Specifications

Technology: Piezo Geljet, Maximum print resolution: 3,600x1,200dpi, Dimensions (HxWxD): 213x399x360mm, Weight: 9.5kg, Maximum paper size: A4/Legal

On the surface, Ricoh's Aficio SG 2100N is a cheap colour printer with speeds to embarrass a mono laser printer, as Ricoh claims up to 29 pages per minute (ppm). While it's similar to an inkjet we're not allowed to call it one; Ricoh's proprietary Geljet system uses a soy-based pigmented gel ink that dries smudge-free without soaking into plain paper like a dye-based ink. There's a range of Geljet models, among which the SG 2100N is rather basic, as it’s a single-function, network-ready printer with a single paper input, and without automatic duplex (double-sided) printing.

^ This printer won't print on both sides automatically, but the driver will help you do it manually

This printer's design owes more to a small mono laser than an inkjet. Compact and rugged, all of its trays and controls are accessed via the front and all of the cords route to the rear, meaning you could put it in a narrow alcove or shallow shelf, or even put other office equipment directly on top. The 250-sheet paper tray seems far more robust than we'd expect at this price, and the paper output above it is made from agreeably chunky plastic. For added reliability the paper transport mechanism uses a belt, like a laser printer, rather than pinch rollers. Overall, it feels comfortably up to Ricoh's claimed 10,000-page duty cycle.

^ The web administration interface (seen here with administrator access) is comprehensive

However, the SG 2100N won't arrive at its headline speed that quickly. Like any printer, there's a trade off between speed and quality, but at the default Speed Priority setting neither is especially impressive. The first side of our 25-page text test arrived in 10 seconds, with the printer going on to reach an underwhelming 11.4 pages per minute (ppm). At the fastest setting this rose to 19.5ppm. At 7.9ppm, our colour graphics test was quicker than on a typical inkjet, but not as quick as many cheap colour lasers.

^ Some of the print driver tabs need a better layout - the Detailed Settings page even has a scroll bar

Pigment inks usually give strong results on plain paper, but here colours lacked impact unless we chose the driver's Quality Priority setting, which was slower. The standard results were also better on matt coated inkjet paper, but using this pushes the cost of printing up. Talking of which, the SG 2100N takes only standard capacity gel cartridges that are rated for 600 pages. Using these, running costs work out to be more than 14p for a mixed page of text and colour graphics. While real life costs are likely to be lower, especially using the driver's Economy Colour mode, this isn't a competitive figure.

^ Ricoh's Android app is the first we've encountered that couldn't automatically detect a printer

The Aficio SG 2100N is impressively robust for the price, but is neither as fast as a laser nor as cheap to run as a small office inkjet. We'd pay more for a single-function inkjet from Epson's WorkForce range.

Hardware
TechnologyPiezo Geljet
Maximum print resolution3,600x1,200dpi
Number of colours (cartridges)4 (4)
Maximum number of colours (cartridges)4 (4)
Quoted photo durability (source)Not disclosed
Standard interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet
Optional interfacesNone
Dimensions (HxWxD)213x399x360mm
Weight9.5kg
Duty cycle (pages per month)10,000
Paper handling
Maximum paper sizeA4/Legal
Maximum paper weight163gsm
Standard paper trays (capacity)1 (250)
Maximum paper trays (capacity)1 (250)
DuplexNo
Photo features
Borderless printingNo
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Memory card supportNone
Supported operating systemsWindows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Android, iOS
Other featuresBacklit mono LCD screen
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price£53 inc VAT
Consumable parts and pricesGC-41KL black £22, GC-41CL cyan £22, GC-41ML magenta £22, GC-41YL yellow £24, all 600 pages each (ISO/IEC 24712). IC-41 ink collector (27,000 pages) £23
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge(s)600 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)600 pages each (ISO/IEC 24712)
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT14.8p
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)11.2p
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)3.6p
Supplierwww.printerland.co.uk
Detailswww.ricoh.co.uk
Part code980670