Canon Laser Shot LBP-5000 review

Price when reviewed

A sure sign that colour laser printers are heading steadily towards the domain of consumers is the sub-£200 Canon LBP-5000. Not only is it cheap, it’s simple to run: the only consumables are the four toner cartridges.

However, an image drum is integrated into each cartridge and, since cartridges only last 2,000 pages in colour, the drums are replaced far more often than in other printers. And with each toner cartridge costing over £40, running costs are higher than others at 1.7p and 8.6p for mono and colour pages respectively.

The LBP-5000 does away with LCDs and conveys all messages via a variety of status LEDs, but all four toners are accessible at once, unlike the Epson with its rotating carousel. There’s no Ethernet port either – just a USB 2 interface – so you can only share the LBP-5000 via a PC or laptop.

This basic approach doesn’t extend to the 600 x 600dpi print engine, as only the HP and Lexmark scored higher marks in our quality tests. The 23page Word document was printed superbly: even white-on-black text was sharp and easy to read. Mono images were rendered in perfect composite black, with no colour cast.

This was certainly true in our mono quality test, where the Canon produced smooth gradients and superb tone. It isn’t perfect, though, as shown by a pale Excel workbook printout, lacking the vibrancy of others here. But overall, colours were relatively bold and accurate.

The LBP-5000 isn’t particularly quick, despite boasting a single-pass engine. However, it still matched Canon’s claimed 8ppm in mono and colour. And, if you’re stepping up from an inkjet, these speeds may be bearable (note that, like all the lasers here, it’s also noisier than an inkjet). Plus, the Canon was the fastest to warm up from cold, taking just 29 seconds, and from warm it printed a single colour page in just 19 seconds. It took 21 seconds for a single mono page, though, making it one of the slowest.

With no optional duplex unit and only the possibility of adding a second 250-sheet tray, the Canon is best suited to single users. And, if you can live with the speed, the Canon is great value.

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