Ricoh Aficio GX3000s review

Ricoh's gel ink technology makes this printer/scanner a little different, but is it right for your business?

Ricoh Aficio GX3000s

There are laser printers, inkjet printers and then there's Ricoh's gel ink devices. Although Ricoh describes it as a gel, it's more like a slightly viscous ink and the machines work like high-speed inkjets. Most of the range are single-function printers, but the GX3000s is a multifunction device, providing copying and scanning, though no fax or memory card print.

This is a large machine for an inkjet, not far short of a medium-range colour laser, and sits very tall on the desktop. Although the head assembly, inside the machine, is quite substantial, it still seems bigger than it need to be, given the facilities.

At the top is a straightforward flatbed scanner. The spec sheet quotes the scanner's resolution at 1,200ppi, but the manual supplied with the machine states a basic resolution of 300ppi, so the difference must be made up through interpolation. 300ppi is high enough for effective OCR, but too low for photo scanning, particularly if you need to enlarge the images afterwards.

The control panel is straightforward, though the number pad is a little superfluous in a machine without fax functionality. There's a two-line by 16-character LCD display, with a useful backlight, and menu controls are positioned in front of this. To the left of the display are three small mode buttons for Print, Scan and Copy and on the extreme right are black and colour copy buttons and one to cancel a current job.

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At the bottom of the front panel is a single, 250-sheet paper tray and pages are fed from this, turned through 180-degrees and finish up on a pull-out support, directly above the tray. There's no separate multi-purpose tray or slot and if you want to print photos you have to replace the plain paper in the main tray.

The four, gel ink cartridges slot in behind a cover to the right of the paper tray, so the machine is very easy to set up physically. Each cartridge has a capacity of 1,000 pages, except black, which is rated at 1,500 pages.

Software installation isn't as straightforward as the physical setup and we had problems getting the setup routine to recognise the machine connected through its USB link, the only connection available, unless you pay for the optional Ethernet card. In the end we had to install both printer driver and TWAIN scanner driver manually - not ideal.

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