Konica Minolta PagePro 4650EN

Price
£439

The PagePro 4650EN is an expandable workgroup laser printer with a lot of potential, though not all of it is realised. It's a substantial machine, but is styled discreetly, so it can still sit in a small office or workgroup in a larger organisation, without dominating the space.

There's very little unusual about the design of the printer, except its second paper tray. The lower tray takes a full 550 sheets of paper, so you can load a ream at a time, but there's also a 150-sheet upper tray, for letterheads or special media. Konica Minolta offers a range of paper handling upgrades, including two extra 550-sheet paper trays, a 500-sheet offset stacker, a 70-sheet face-up tray and a duplexer.

It's more than a bit surprising that a laser printer costing over 400 doesn't include duplex print as standard, but also that the direct print facility isn't implemented straight out of the box. Direct print enables documents in PDF, JPEG and TIFF formats to be printed from a USB drive, or to connect a PictBridge camera.

However, the function doesn't work unless you connect either 1GB of CompactFlash memory or an internal hard drive. Given the current price of memory cards, it looks pretty mean not to stick one in as standard. Other printers in this price bracket include some form of direct print, without the need for an upgrade.

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The bright, back-lit display shows up to four lines of text, but the screen font is particularly unattractive, in capitals only and looks like one of the early Windows vector offerings. Front panel controls consist of a four-way navigation ring, a menu select button and a pink Cancel button, to curtail a printing job.

The PagePro 4650EN is well endowed with connections and can be linked via USB 2.0, good old-fashioned parallel or into an Ethernet network, running at up to Gigabit speeds.

Set up is straightforward, as the only consumable in the printer is a combined drum and toner cartridge, which slots in from the top, at a steep angle. Make sure to remove the less-than-obvious, brown tape seal to the cartridge, though, as the printer gives no warning if you don't and simply feeds out blank pages.

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