If both your desk and your schedule are cramped beyond belief, the Konica Minolta PagePro 1350W should grab your attention. At 385mm wide and less than 260mm deep with its paper tray retracted, this tiny 1,200dpi laser printer cranks out monochrome text like there's no tomorrow: it averaged more than 13.5 pages per minute in our tests, no mean feat for a printer you can take home for about £130 (as of May 2005).
Of course, this printer has its limitations, such as a scant 150-page paper tray and an even scantier 100-page output tray that's prone to spilling pages over the edge, but it's still a workhorse. Another downside: its 6,000 extended-capacity cartridges cost about as much as the printer itself. Yet for speedy and good-looking pages, the affordable PagePro 1350W is attractive, and for people with small desks, it's an excellent choice. This printer's 8MB buffer and overall speed would service a small workgroup if you added an external print server, as long as people don't leave a lot of pages to spill from its outtake tray.
For a small printer, the Konica Minolta PagePro 1350W manages to cover the laser printing bases well. It weighs a slight 7.8kg, with a 150-sheet paper tray designed to stay empty until you're ready to print. You then flip down the dual-purpose cover-cum-paper tray and slip your blank pages inside, adding an extra 150mm to the machine's footprint at the front.
Pages take a C-shaped path through the machine to appear atop an output tray that's overrated to hold 100 sheets -- pages spill over the edge after only 10 pages. The buckling of the sheets as they spool out of the printer seems to reduce the output tray's capacity. Otherwise, our test prints flowed smoothly, without excessive paper jams. Unfortunately, when it does jam, you must take out the toner cartridge to remove any paper stuck in the works. But we did subject this printer to extra torture tests, such as feeding it damp onionskin paper, before it jammed.
The Konica Minolta PagePro 1350W has a zippy 21ppm (pages per minute) engine that produces 1,200x1,200dpi grayscale documents and supports GDI page description, which means that Mac and Linux users need not apply. Designed to work with Windows 98 (and later) machines, this model comes with USB 1.1 and old-fashioned IEEE 1284 parallel ports.
For such a small and inexpensive printer, there's a lot to recommend the Konica Minolta PagePro 1350W. It accepts a variety of paper sizes and weights, handling regular 80gsm paper and thick card stock equally well, and managing heavy-duty manila envelopes without a hitch. Only with lightweight paper did it stumble, squishing creases into a few sheets of a 30-page print job.
The printer software includes an always-on monitor that provides concise and useful messages about the print process. Although the 1350W doesn't have a built-in duplexer for double-sided printing, you can print n-up and two-sided booklets using options in the printer driver. After printing the first side of a page, the printer software pauses while you follow printed instructions for orienting the pages to print on the other side of a sheet. If you must regularly print on two sides of a sheet of paper, take a look at the pricier HP LaserJet 1320.
Speed is the watchword for this little powerhouse of a printer. In our tests, the Konica Minolta PagePro 1350W belted out 14ppm of text and a tad less (13.6ppm) for graphics. As such, it's among the fastest compact laser printers that we have tested, a full page per minute ahead of competitors such as the Samsung ML-1740. Printing graphics, it even gives pricier printers such as the HP LaserJet 1320 a run for its money, though it can't match the LaserJet's text printing speeds.
This printer also managed to crank out its test pages without making a fuss; it's one of the quietest printers we've come across. Certainly, it revs up its engine and fans as it cycles through the printing process, but even sitting on a cheap, laminated desk, the engines ran so quietly they couldn't be heard during a phone conversation.
As for print quality, the test text was crisp and clear, not prone to looking blobby at lower point sizes. In our graphics samples, solid expanses of black came out without banding, and line art was of high quality overall. High-resolution grayscale digital photographs printed through Windows XP's Printer wizard, however, showed some linear artefacts that marred the image quality.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
||Black graphics speed||
||Black text speed|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo.
Edited by Elsa Wenzel
Additional editing by Nick Hide