Ricoh SP 3600DN Laser 

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The Ricoh SP 3600DN product is a mono laser printer. This particular unit has been developed to replace the Ricoh SP3500N, SP364510DN and SP4100NL models. As such Ricoh believes this product would be best suited for use in a small office or home office environment where it could service the printing needs of between 2 and 5 users.

ricoh SP 3600DN mono laser printer
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Decked out in light and dark shades of computer grey, the SP 3600DN has a sturdy appearance which is backed up by the unit’s weight of 14.5kg and dimensions of 370 x 392 x 268mm (W x D x H).  The DN part of the product’s model number gives the indication that this device has both Duplex and Network capabilities built into the unit.  When it comes to connectivity you have a choice of USB or Ethernet with both sockets being located at the rear of the unit along with the power socket.

The laser printer module is mounted on top of a pull-out paper input drawer.  This drawer has a front-mounted grip handle that makes it easier removing the drawer when paper refilling is called.  On the left of the drawer is a small window that enables you to keep a check of the level of paper held inside without needing to open the drawer.  Paper capacity for this drawer is 250 sheets.  Located on the right side of the drawer is a small wheel.  This can be turned to give an indication as to the size of the paper that is currently occupying the drawer.

A second by-pass paper input tray is available behind a drop-down panel at the front of the unit.  This tray increases the paper capacity by a further 100 pages and can be used for mixing paper sizes.  The drop down panel also features the unit’s power on/off button.

Printed documents are ejected into a depressed area on the top of the printer’s body.  A small pull-out flap can be used to ensure that documents are not scattered over the floor.  To the right of the paper output depression is a slightly raised control panel that is coloured black.  Heading this panel is a 60 x 25mm LCD screen that displays status and error messages.  Just below the screen are three elongated buttons for selecting the appropriate on-screen option.  Further down is a four-way compass navigation wheel for moving through menu levels and options.  There are also buttons for Menu, Job Reset, Escape and OK selection plus lights to indicate power, alert and data reception.

When you need to access the innards of the printer, for example when the toner cartridge or drum needs replacing, there is a button located near the front of the right side of the box which can be pressed to release the front of the printer.  You can then carry out any work that is required necessary.  A similar arrangement is available at the rear of the unit for when you need to clear away a paper jam.

As luck would have it, I immediately encountered a paper jam when I first tried out the printer.  In order to clear the jam I needed to lower the back cover and then remove a component before extracting the paper that was guilty of causing the jam.  While this was an easy operation, replacing the component was far trickier.  The component would only fit if held at the correct angle to slide along two channels.  Often you will also need to remove the front cover and, in some cases, the paper tray in order to clear away paper causing the blockage.  I was pleased that I did not need to repeat the task as this was the only occasion when a paper jam occurred.

Earlier I mentioned that this printer supported Duplex printing.  Usually in such cases, the Duplex feature, whereby documents are automatically printed on both side of the page without any user intervention, is turned off by default.  However with the Ricoh SP 3600DN, Duplex is set on as the default mode.  It is possible to turn off Duplex printing but this involves accessing the print Properties dialogue box.

The Properties dialogue uses tabs that allow you to switch between sections designated as Presets, Default Setting and Configuration.  In order to change the default Duplex settings you first need to select the Detailed Settings tab and then the Edit feature.  You can then change the 2-sided print option to Off and save the new setting under an appropriate name for future use. 

Fortunately there is a one-sided print setting included among the default options if you do not fancy getting your hands dirty with some basic alterations.  Other presets on offer include 2 pages per side for both single sided and Duplex printing.  You can also add your own presets for different types of documents and print jobs.

The Detailed Settings tab also houses options for Job Setup, Basic, Paper, Finishing, Effects and Print Quality with the latter giving you the chance to switch between the 600 x 600 dpi or 1200 x 1200 dpi settings.  When using both these print quality settings, I was able to duplicate the 30ppm print speed rating for this printer.  To the naked eye, I was unable to detect any difference between the quality of the printing delivered by the two resolutions on offer.

The Ricoh SP 3600DN is more suitable, both in size and functionality, for a small office environment than a more homely atmosphere.  As usually with Ricoh products, no indication of pricing is given on the website, instead you are offer the opportunity to speak to a consultant.  Checking revealed that this product is currently available at a price of £174.99 rather than the recommended price of £321.  As yet I have been unable to track down prices for replacement toner cartridges which are available in Standard (3000 pages) or High Yield (6000 pages) versions.  The toner cartridge supplied with the product is rated at 1500 pages.

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