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Konica Minolta magicolor 3730DN review

Verdict

A low-cost colour laser with a good turn of speed and impressive quality, but running costs are high

Review Date: 5 Apr 2011

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £241 (£289 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £682
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

Konica’s new magicolor 3730DN is designed to be greener than similar colour lasers in this class. It costs only £241 exc VAT, despite claiming a decent 24ppm print speed in both mono and colour modes – that looks a good deal for small workgroups.

The 3730DN uses Konica’s Simitri polymerised toner, which uses less power than conventional toner by fusing at lower temperatures. The printer also comes with an integrated duplex unit to further cut your costs.

The benefits were evident in our print quality tests: text across a range of sizes was pin-sharp with no discernible smudging or dusting. Mono photographs revealed impressive levels of detail, particularly in darker areas, and banding was kept to a minimum.

For such a low-cost printer, its colour output is surprisingly good. Although not as vibrant as Oki’s C610np, our test prints showed good colour balance and detail. Our colour performance chart also confirmed that the 3730DN produces better results than Konica’s higher-end 4750DN. Grey shades using equal mixes of C, Y and M toner were reproduced faithfully, whereas the 4750DN was too enthusiastic with its yellow toner.

This is a GDI printer, so the host system will be expected to rasterize pages. However, we found print speeds were good, with our 24-page Word document churned out in 60 seconds. The driver offers three resolutions, and the document was delivered at the same speed for each setting. Our 24-page DTP print fared less well, since its collection of photos and graphics slowed down the speed to 14.5ppm.

Konica Minolta magicolor 3730DN

Duplex printing is activated from the driver panel, but it will only let you print at up to 1,200 x 600dpi in this mode. However, double-sided speeds are good: our 24-page Word document completed in 1min 7secs.

The driver provides a good range of controls, with options to print multiple pages on one sheet, as well as booklets and large posters. Installation could be improved, however, as Konica’s driver installation routine couldn’t find the printer on our network. We had to print a configuration page to get the unit’s IP address and enter it manually.

The 3730DN’s printing costs are a concern. Along with the four toner cartridges, you have belt, transfer roller and fuser, plus waste bottles, and these all push the cost per mono page to 2.6p and a pocket-thumping 12.3p for colour.

You can reduce these figures by using high-yield cartridges, but this doesn’t make a huge difference, with 2.2p for mono and 10.9p for colour. Initial costs will be even higher as the printer ships with 2,000-page mono and 1,000-page colour cartridges, while the starter belt unit lasts for only 50,000 pages.

For less than £250, the Konica Minolta magicolor 3730DN has plenty going for it: it’s fast and delivers good overall print quality in both mono and colour. Unfortunately, high running costs make it a sensible choice only for those with an occasional need for colour.

Author: Dave Mitchell

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