Konica Minolta PagePro 1400W
At a Glance
Konica Minolta PagePro 1400W Laser Printer (17 PPM, 1200x600 DPI, 8MB, PC)
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Compact model produces high-quality text, but it has only one paper tray.
The compact Konica Minolta PagePro 1400W costs just $120 (as of 8/4/2006), but it lacks several features that you can find on printers costing only a little more. Its single paper tray holds just 150 sheets. The tray also lacks a cover to protect against dust and spills. Most monochrome lasers we've reviewed recently offer at least a manual slot for feeding alternative paper types and envelopes, but for the 1400W, these must be swapped into the tray. (At least you can feed up to ten envelopes from the tray--some printers let you feed only one at a time.)
The 1400W connects to your PC through its USB 2.0 High-Speed port. You'll need to use Windows' built-in printer sharing to make it available to other PCs on your network. Like many budget-priced printers, the 1400W uses your PC's processor to render its pages directly from Windows' low-level Graphics Device Interface. As a result, this printer is compatible with Windows machines only, and it lacks PostScript and PCL support--though that shouldn't affect your ability to print everyday documents.
Konica Minolta ships the printer with a toner cartridge that yields only 1000 pages (according to the industry-standard rating method). Replacement cartridges rated at 2000 pages cost a moderate $55 each. However, a separate drum unit costing $105 has to be replaced every 20,000 pages, pushing the cost per page up to 3.3 cents. Replacing these parts is a rather complex process. A complete imaging unit slides out through the front door of the printer, from which you detach both the toner cartridge and the drum. The process exposes you to the toner, which is easy to spill. By contrast, the Lexmark E120n, for example, uses cleanly sealed toner cartridges that you replace without touching the drum.
For a laser this cheap, print quality was surprisingly good. We saw nice solid text with crisp edges in our tests, although some bold lettering almost merged. Line art appeared sharp, but blocks of close parallel lines were spaced unevenly to give striped-like patterns. We spied very narrow horizontal banding across our grayscale image, but it had smooth tonal changes despite being a bit dark. In our speed tests, text pages printed at 13.1 pages per minute, a slower rate than most recent small-office lasers have achieved. Graphics also printed at a below-average 6.5 ppm.
The Konica Minolta PagePro 1400W is a budget model that should fit easily into even the smallest office. However, its lack of multiple paper trays and slow printing speed make it less appealing than other compact models.