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Ricoh Aficio C242SF review

Kat Orphanides
8 Dec 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
368
inc VAT

This workmanlike MFP is let down by colour print speeds that are only just faster than an inkjet's

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Specifications

single-pass colour laser, 20ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 476x420x493mm

While many modern MFPs are equipped with colour screens, touch buttons and all manner of shiny bells and whistles, the C242SF keeps it simple with a bright four-line LCD display. It has a slightly clunky menu interface with only limited options, but you can at least scan to a USB flash disk; there are few other extra features, though.

Ricoh Aficio C242SF

The C242SF supports a direct connection via USB or a network connection over Ethernet. The supplied software CD has quick installation options for both, which default to a PCL6 printer driver and TWAIN scanner driver. If required, you can also install a PostScript 3 printer driver, LAN-Fax utility and a copy of NewSoft's Presto! PageManager 9 Standard Edition.

Presto! lets you easily organise, OCR and search your scanned documents. It has some useful features, such as the ability to create searchable PDFs, but the version that shipped with our printer doesn’t have the current version's support for saving your documents to Google Drive or Evernote. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with the upgrade installer from NewSoft's website, and Ricoh's own driver download site also shows no sign of the update.

The C242SF is first and foremost built for mono printing, but made decent work of our illustrated colour business documents, despite slightly sluggish colour print speeds. Very small serif fonts of 8pt and below look a little jagged, though. Close examination revealed slightly jagged edges on fonts of up to 14pt when using the default 600dpi and Speed quality setting, but the errors are subtle and the overall appearance of our documents was good. Mono pages printed at a respectable 15.2ppm but colour documents printed at just 4.8ppm and colour duplex at 3.7ppm. We've seen better colour printing speeds from inkjets.

You can't change the printer's resolution, but there are two higher-quality gradation settings: Standard and Fine. At fine quality, even 5pt fonts looked fairly solid, although some letters looked a touch thin, while standard quality also provides some improvement.

Ricoh Aficio C242SF

When we tested the MFP's ability to print photos, we set its gradation to fine. Six 6x4in photos on three A4 pages printed in 3m 17s and looked reasonable. The Aficio's colour prints aren't as glossy as those from some lasers but the contrast in our images was excellent. They were a little grainy and red tones were slightly over-emphasised, but we were generally happy with photo quality. The same set of images printer in 1m 25s seconds at the fastest setting, but the resulting images were noticeably grainier. Our 10x8in images printed in 2m 27s, also at fine quality.

Mono and colour photocopies from the flatbed platen took 26s and 29s respectively, but you can add another 10s to that if the scanner hasn't been used recently. Meanwhile, 20s will be added to any print or copy if the MFP is in sleep mode when you start it. Copy quality is generally good, with sharp text, although colour images are somewhat dominated by red tones while mono copies of colour illustrations look a little dark.