While a glance at the mono LCD control panel on the Ricoh SP C252SF tells you that features aren’t its strong point, you do get a competent colour A4 MFP with 4-in-1 print, copy, fax and scan options, wired and wireless operation, and exceptionally low running costs.
Even using standard high-yield inks, print costs are reasonable: mono and colour pages cost 4.4c and 6.1c, respectively. And if you use Ricoh’s new ultra-high-yield cartridges, the costs reduce to 3.6c and 4.4c.
The printer sits comfortably on a desk, and claims speeds of 20ppm for colour and mono prints. Its 250-sheet paper tray can be supplemented with a 500-sheet lower tray.
Installation could be smoother. After finding the printer on our network, the utility loaded only Ricoh’s PCL6 and TWAIN drivers. We had to run it again for the PostScript 3 driver and then for a third time to load the LAN-Fax driver for desktop faxing.
The printer’s 200-entry address book is set up from the control panel or, more easily, from its web UI. We created scan destinations to FTP servers, network shares and email addresses, which are accessed from the control panel using their assigned speed-dial numbers.
Businesses with an eye on security will appreciate Ricoh’s extra features. Using the PCL6 driver, we locked print jobs with a PIN and walked to the unit to release them (this also helps to prevent pile-ups of forgotten print jobs).
If you want to control access to more expensive printer functions – such as colour printing and copying – then the Restrict feature requires users to enter a registered name.
That’s where the good news on features ends. While both wired and wireless modes are available, both can’t be active simultaneously. The printer doesn’t support Apple AirPrint or NFC, either. Scanning to or printing from cloud services may prove difficult, with poor support compared to rivals.
Ricoh’s Smart Device Print&Scan app allowed us to view our Dropbox and Google Drive accounts from an iPad, and we successfully printed files from them too, but this printer doesn’t support the app’s Scan Import function.
The 600dpi print engine and driver ‘magic up’ higher resolutions using gradations of 1 bit per pixel in Fast mode, 2 bits for Standard and 4 bits for Fine. The first two modes returned a 20-page Word document at 20ppm; Fine mode halved the speed, and automatic duplexing at Standard mode saw 9ppm.
Colour proved more challenging, with our 24-page DTP test print returning only 10ppm in Fast mode and a tedious 4ppm in Fine mode.
Quality is good, however, with photos showing vivid colours, high levels of detail and imperceptible banding: our colour-performance chart revealed smooth transitions across complex colour fades in Fine mode. Text at Standard and Fine modes was pin-sharp, while mono photos revealed good detail.
The time to first page was around 14 seconds, increasing to 20 seconds for colour prints in Fine mode. A Deep Sleep mode reduces power usage to less than 3W, but the printer takes 30 seconds to wake from this mode.
Copying was handled deftly, with the 50-page ADF printing our sheaf of 30 bank statements at an average of 17ppm. Although duplexing requires pages to be turned over and rescanned, we couldn’t complain about the output quality, with copies almost as good as the originals.
• 600dpi A4 colour laser
• 1,200dpi colour flatbed A4 scanner
• 20ppm mono/colour
• 2 x USB 2
• 10/100 Ethernet
• 802.11n Wi-Fi
• 33.6Kbits/sec fax/modem
• 2 x RJ11
• single-sheet bypass slot
• 50-sheet ADF
• Presto PageManager 9 SE software
• 420 x 493 x 460mm (WDH)
• 3yr warranty
• Ultra-high-yield toner: mono (6,500 pages), $235
• CMY (6,000 pages), $261
• waste toner bottle (25,000 pages), $28
Distributors National distributors Alloys and Tonerpoint, plus eight regional disties
Launched April 2014
Next product below Ricoh SP C250SF
The channel manager says: “Ricoh is one of the largest manufacturers of office equipment and was the first vendor to offer a 3yr warranty on the printer range. Ricoh represents a great opportunity for our resellers to value-add with managing print devices, while also providing an ongoing revenue stream in consumable sales.” Gino Severin, national channel manager, Printers & ICT, Ricoh Australia