A Colour Printer
With dimensions of 395 x 360 x 215mm (W x D x H), the Aficio has a sturdy and solid box-like appearance. Predominately black in colour, with white front and rear face plates, this printer’s connection options are located on the left side of the unit. Here you will find the mains power socket plus USB and wired Ethernet ports – sadly there is no Wi-Fi connectivity with this model. Both the USB and Ethernet ports are initially concealed within a covered compartment. I found that replacing the cover of this compartment was a rather fiddly operation that almost tempted me to leave it uncovered until I finally managed to fit in back in place. Fortunately the replacement is not an operation that will need to be carried out on a frequent basis.
As part of the physical setting up of the hardware element for this printer, you will need to insert the four starter ink cartridges supplied with the product. These cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow) are of the large type and they slide into a hidden compartment located at the right front corner of the printer. In order to access this compartment you will need to lower a drop-down flap. Inserting the cartridges is a simple and straightforward operation.
Paper input is from a closed paper tray that sits at the base of the printer. Capable of holding up to 250 pages, this tray has a small cut-out window so that you can check to see when the supply of paper is getting low and a restocking is called for. Printed documents are ejected on to an extendible support arm positioned above the paper tray.
Just above the paper input/output area is the printer’s control panel with all the various options concentrated on the right half of the panel. A 60 x 17mm LCD screen provides feedback on the current status and messages. Unfortunately, due to the positioning of the screen, which is fixed and flush to the body of the printer, it was rather awkward to read its contents unless you bent down or placed the printer at eye level with neither being an ideal situation.
To the left of the screen are buttons for Form Feed and a No-Fuss Head Cleaning operation. Indicators for the current ink level available from the four colours are arranged beneath the screen. Completing this control panel are buttons for Menu, Escape and Enter are on the right side along with the power on/off button.
Having sat through the initial powering-up sequence of numerous printers, I have to state that the Ricoh Aficio takes the award for ensuring my thumb-twiddling got plenty of practice as nearly seven minutes were taken up as the blue power light pulsed with a regular beat. There was some feedback on the printer’s display screen but, as mentioned earlier, it was difficult to read the content being displayed.
Ricoh includes a CD with the Aficio that offers software drivers, manuals and utilities. Any utilities were conspicuous by their absence. The CD’s opening menu gives you options for a quick install either for USB and Network plus installing the print driver and a User Guide. During the quick USB install option you are advised to ensure the Aficio is turned off and are shown a picture of an on/off switch. This might confuse a novice user as the Aficio has an on/off button rather than a switch.
The Ricoh print driver offers a choice of Basic, 2 on 1 and Black & White printing. With each choice you can set the page size and orientation plus select from High speed, Speed priority, Quality printing and High quality levels. Printing my usual 101-word document with a small colour image, I achieved print speeds of 28ppm, 18ppm, 10.5ppm and 2ppm respectively. Only the High speed setting got close to the 29ppm that Ricoh claims this printer is capable of producing. Print quality, in all cases, was reasonable with the colour image showing the biggest difference between the various print qualities.
Rather than display a price for this product, Ricoh provide a telephone number to ring for a price quote. However Amazon.co.uk has this printer listed at £46.07 with a pack of four cartridges listed at £29.90. At this price point, the Ricoh Aficio SG-2100N is a reasonable purchase especially if you do not require Wi-Fi.
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