capsule review

Konica Minolta MagiColor 5430DL

At a Glance
  • Konica Minolta Magicolor 5430 DL Printer

    PCWorld Rating

    This model's performance and print quality didn't impress us. It has good paper-handling features, though.

Konica Minolta MagiColor 5430DL
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Like many of the color laser models we've seen, the $999 Konica Minolta MagiColor 5430DL is bulky and cubical in shape. Unlike most of its competitors at this price, this model relies on your PC's CPU to render the pages.

Most host-based printers support only Windows, where they work directly from the low-level Graphics Device Interface. However, you can also run the 5430DL with Mac computers if you install a recommended PostScript emulator.

The 5430DL comes with only a single paper source, a drawer in its base that can hold up to 250 sheets. You can boost the paper capacity by attaching up to two 500-sheet drawers ($299 each) to the bottom of the printer, bringing the maximum capacity up to a reasonable 1250 sheets. Your finished documents land facedown in the bin on top of the printer, which can hold up to 250 sheets. You can also buy an optional duplexer for $399. This unit has some paper-handling limitations: You can feed envelopes only from the standard paper drawer (up to ten at a time), and you can print on legal paper only if you buy the 500-sheet legal-size drawer.

In our lab tests, the 5430DL's monochrome quality was much better than its color. We spotted a few dropouts (white dots within the characters), but otherwise text was nicely formed, and even italic letters looked sharp. Very close lines merged into a solid block in our line-art test, but the lack of banding impressed us. Although our grayscale image came out dark and a little grainy, we saw almost no moiré, and no banding. Despite some good detail in shadows, excessive dithering and a strong ochre tint spoiled the results of our color tests.

The 5430DL's text printing quality comes at a price: We clocked it printing text at a paltry 3 pages per minute, more than four times slower than the 13.5-ppm average among the small-office color lasers we reviewed for our February 2005 issue. Color graphics pages arrived at 2.4 ppm, somewhat closer to--but still below--the 3.3-ppm average.

Despite the 5430DL's being a host-based printer, installing it on our network at the PC World Test Center was easy enough. You can tie it to a single PC through its USB 2.0 port, as well. The installation guide and general-information guide are printed booklets, but the more extensive user guide and reference guide come only as PDF files on the software CD-ROM. The printer ships with four starter toner cartridges yielding only 3000 pages each. Replacement cartridges are rated by Konica Minolta at 6000 pages.

The Konica Minolta MagiColor 5430DL's mediocre color printing and slow text print speed limit its appeal; we recommend instead either the Dell Color Laser Printer 3000cn or the Dell 5100cn, or even to step up to the Okidata C3750n.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This model's performance and print quality didn't impress us. It has good paper-handling features, though.

    Pros

    • Text prints looked sharp and well formed

    Cons

    • Slow text output speed
    • Mediocre color printing
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