Ricoh Aficio GX 3000S
Quick dry ink, the fast print solution?
A 2-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display shows status and menu options and a large array of buttons in front of this provides for menu navigation and functions such as brightness, contrast and image reduction. To the left of this cluster are mode buttons for print, scan and copy, while at the right end are buttons to start mono and colour copies and to cancel a current job.
Control panel navigation has all the usual offerings
There's no front panel USB socket, hence no facility to print from a USB drive or to save scanned images to one, though you can save scans to a PC in PDF format, as well as JPEG and TIFF. At the bottom of the front panel is a 250-sheet paper tray and an extending support directly above this takes printed pages, after they've made a full 180-degree turn during printing. Extra, 250-sheet trays are available as options.
The four, gels ink cartridges slide in behind a cover to the right of the main paper tray and this is all the physical set up that’s required. Software installation is a lot more cumbersome, as Ricoh asks you to turn off Windows’ Found New Hardware Wizard, not just to cancel it, if it detects the printer. This is non-trivial and no instructions are given.
The difficulty is compounded by the Ricoh setup routine not always recognising the printer. If this happens, by default it instals a parallel printer driver for its non-existent parallel port. In the end, we had to manually instal USB print and scanner drivers to get the machine to work. Ricoh provides drivers for Windows, from 2000 on, and for OS X 10.3 and above. There's no mention of Linux support.
You might get quite excited by a quoted speed of 29ppm for both black and colour print, but you probably know what's coming next. The Aficio GX 3000S doesn't come close to these speeds in normal use and, indeed, the printer's manual quotes a different figure of 18.5ppm. Measuring from initiating a print to the final page hitting the output tray gives a black print speed of 9.4ppm on a short document, rising to only 10.2ppm on a longer, 20-page print.
Four gel ink cartridges slide in from the front
A five-page text and colour graphics document gives a speed of 7.7ppm. None of these speeds is bad for a colour inkjet, though they are not that much faster than, for example, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8500. Where the Ricoh machine does excel, though, is when printing duplex. It has a duplexer built in and, because of the quick drying of the gels inks, it prints a 20-side duplex document in just 2mins 23s, a speed of 8.4spm. This is getting on for twice as fast as the OfficeJet Pro.