Canon LBP5960 review

Price when reviewed

Canon’s latest colour laser aims to deliver affordable A3 colour printing to SMBs in a chassis that’s compact enough to sit on the desktop. The LBP5960 is certainly one of the smaller A3 units we’ve had in the lab, but you’ll need a sturdy desk since it tips the scales at more than 60kg fully loaded. It isn’t the smallest either, as this honour goes to the PC Pro Recommended Oki C8600n (web ID: 102316), which is more than 20kg lighter.

Canon LBP5960 review

The LBP5960 can be manually configured locally, although we found the control panel and menu structure confusing and unfriendly, taking us nearly 20 minutes to figure out how to give the printer a static IP address. Even then the printer had to have its power recycled before the settings took effect. The Windows driver panel is much more intuitive and offers a good range of options, allowing users to have high levels of control over their printed output. Six different quality modes are available, so you can opt for 600dpi for general printing or go up to 1,200dpi for photos, graphics and high-definition text.

Duplexing comes as standard, and with the optional hard disk kit installed (20GB, £239), you can protect sensitive documents with a PIN entered through the printer panel. In fact, Canon has a keen focus on printing security since it also offers print job encryption and secure-erase options. The printer’s web interface provides a complete rundown on all consumables, and it needs to since there are plenty of them. Canon’s philosophy is that separate toner and drum cartridges make for better value.

The LBP5960 has a good turn of speed, and can deliver A4 colour and mono prints at 30ppm. Using the general mode, it turned out a basic 30-page Word document in just 60 seconds. Our heavy duty 24-page DTP-style document and its collection of photos, graphics and charts was also handled efficiently in this mode, as it dropped into the upper output tray in 48 seconds. The speed halves when you move up in resolution, though, since the same tests at 1,200dpi both returned speeds of 15ppm. A3 speeds at 600dpi are on the money, with the printer dishing up a 20-page presentation at a rate of 15ppm.

The extra wait incurred with the higher resolution is worthwhile, as although output quality at 600dpi is very good, when you move up to 1,200dpi colours become much richer and deeper. Text is sharp right down to the smallest fonts, and colour photographs and graphics have a vibrancy that will give your next report that extra pizzazz. We were impressed by the lack of banding in large areas of single colours and general levels of details, even in darker areas, were good at both resolutions.

So far Canon is looking good, but Oki’s C8600n puts up some serious competition to the LBP5960. We compared A3 and A4 output from both printers and came to the conclusion that the C8600n delivered a colour quality that was even better than Canon’s. In terms of printing costs there’s barely anything between them, but the fact that the C8600n costs about £600 less makes it far better value overall.

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