I’ve just bought this colour laser printer/scanner – here are some first thoughts.

Packaging is very precise, with instructions doubling-up everywhere and lot of wasted paper with the same crap in multiple languages. The localization (into Czech) seems thorough - the top panel is translated as is the software. There are few glitches (czech symbols in menus showing up corrupted under Windows 7… nothing major).

Funny note next to the Driver CD: “Regrettably we have to inform you that the printer driver on the DVD supplied with the machine has a technical issue. An updated and corrected version of the driver is already available on our Konica Minolta website”. Great way to solve problems.

The two XP drivers for printing and scanning are no-frills, under 10MB affair (Which I find good.) Other software supplied is something called PaperPort SE and LinkMagic haven’t tried them out but seems that neither has OCR inside. Which is bad. Compare this to my little, cheap ink multifunction from Canon – their drivers are more flashy (custom UI, few hundred MBs in size, OK performance) but more importantly I got some limited but functional version of OmniPage OCR.

Turning it on… and ouch – a plane has decided to land in my quiet room. First start was horribly long, then the device settled into uncomfortable humming – which seems to be the Stand-by mode. Crap! I didn’t expect that. Looking again at the spec., Stand-by mode should be 32dbA which is probably right (quiet according to K.M.), but it really sounds horrible when the device is sitting a meter away from me on a quiet evening. The sound doesn’t go away, so I go into settings and set it to go to Sleep mode after 5 minutes – the minimum setting. I would prefer to be able to set it to 1 minute so that I don’t have to listen to it 5 minutes after pages are spitted out. I kinda need to keep it on all the time so people can print over the network.  Well, take this as a whinge of somebody used to an ink-jet.

The most important – printing! Fast. Sharp. Good quality. Font size 2 from Word is readable, size 1 is not, but still looks like text. I’ve just printed out some colour maps (hi-res JPGs) and vector-based plans (PDF) and the fine fonts on those didn’t print out perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK, but text is not as perfect as BW printing from word; I suspect that the printer software is not trying hard enough when text is on a background rather than the hardware of the printer not coping… I really don’t know (that much about printers). I’m not going to spend much time digging into this but if you have an idea how to improve this- please let me know!

Scanning – absolutely sufficient for my amateur needs.

Bottom line:

+ cheap (for a colour laser multifunction – 5000Czk inc vat)

+ fast (for me)

+ good print and scan quality

+ drivers seem to work well

- noisy (compared to the silence of an ink-jet).

- no OCR supplied

- USB cable is not supplied

- dust cover for paper is optional extra

Bottomline: After one day of use it seems like a good device to me but it’s not better than an ink-jet multifunction in all departments – if you are deciding, weight up the pros an cons.