Cons: Expensive colour gel cartridges
Bottomline: A good performer, but the high price of the inks push up the running costs
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Inkjet printers can cost anything from £50 to £300 or more, but one problem that tends to afflict them all is the ink bleed that occurs when the inks seep into the porous fibres of a sheet of paper, causing a loss of fine detail in both text and graphics.
Ricoh has attempted to solve this problem with its new Aficio GX2500. Instead of water-based inks, the Aficio uses quick-drying gels that solidify on the paper’s surface to eliminate ink bleed. The results are very good, although the really outstanding feature of this printer is its sheer speed. Text quality is excellent, with smoothly outlined text characters that approach laser quality.
Its ability to churn out 10 full pages of text in just under a minute is also quite impressive for a printer in this price range. Photographic output on plain paper is very good too, although the printer’s default settings did produce noticeable banding on our test images and it took a little experimentation with the driver to eliminate this.
Once that was done, the printer produced a full A4 photographic image in an impressive 22 seconds. We do have some reservations about the printer’s running costs, though. Replacement gel cartridges are quite expensive, costing £26.35 for black and £32.90 each for the three colour cartridges. Ricoh estimates running costs of 1.49 pence per page for black-and-white documents, which isn’t too bad.
However, that figure jumps to 9.91 pence when printing in colour, which is a bit steep compared to most ordinary inkjet printers. Ricoh told us that you never need to buy replacement printhead units for the Aficio, which provides additional savings. But even so, a cost of almost 10p per page for colour printing seems quite high – especially for home and small-business users.