Canon i-Sensys LBP5100 review

Price when reviewed

Canon’s latest desktop colour laser targets small businesses and workgroups looking for affordable, quiet colour printing. The quoted maximum operational noise level of 50dB(A) does make the LBP5100 one of the quieter models at this level of the market, and it certainly isn’t hard on the pocket either.

Canon i-Sensys LBP5100 review

The cartridges are the all-in-one variety, with each incorporating the toner, drum and cleaning unit. The black cartridge lasts for 2,500 pages at 5% coverage, while the colour ones are good for 2,000 pages apiece.

But printing costs are on the steep side, with a mono page costing just under 2p and a colour page setting you back more than 9p. Print speeds are par for the course for a sub-£200 printer, with Canon quoting 12ppm for mono and 10ppm for colour.

Connectivity extends to a standard USB port at the rear, but the printer can be networked with an optional 10/100 Ethernet NB-C2 print server, which will set you back around £105. You can also add a second, 250-sheet feeder tray underneath. The toner cartridges are easily accessible, as the entire front cover swings down.

At this price, you don’t get an LCD display and operator panel. All printer information is revealed by a simple band of LEDs across the top showing printer activity, paper status and warnings for each toner cartridge as they reach their end of life.

During testing we found the LBP5100 quite capable of delivering the quoted print speeds. A 12-page Word document was whisked through in 58 seconds using the General print driver setting. Quality settings include Presentation, Photo and CAD, and none affected colour print speeds.

Our 24-page DTP-style document and its collection of graphics and photographs was delivered on the General setting at a tidy 10ppm, and this was repeated using the Presentation setting. Duplex operations worked well, and the 24-page document printed on both sides at a rate of 8.5ppm.

Print quality was good. Text at all but the smallest sizes was crisp and sharp, while mono photographs showed good levels of detail with no banding. Colour output for such a low-cost laser was also good, and grey shades using equal mixes of C, Y and M toner were reproduced faithfully.

A minor criticism was that solid colour blocks of C, Y and M for General, Photo and Presentation modes suffered from a hint of grey, whereas the CAD setting delivered much more vibrant colours. This translated to richer colours in our test photos, though all modes delivered high levels of detail with virtually no banding in any of them.

For a low-cost colour laser, Canon’s LBP5100 has a lot going for it. Mono and colour print speeds are on the money, and output quality for both is particularly good. The only thing stopping it getting a Recommended award is its above-average printing costs.

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final600 x 600dpi
Rated/quoted print speed12PPM
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionyes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page1.9p
Cost per A4 colour page9.2p


Standard mono toner life2,500 pages
Standard colour toner life2,000

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured)12ppm
Colour print speed10ppm

Media Handling

Input tray capacity250 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?no
Bluetooth connection?no
WiFi connection?no
PictBridge port?no

OS Support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes

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