Ricoh's new GelSprinter range makes use of a gel-based print technology, designed to offer the benefits of colour printing but at a speed and cost closer to a traditional office laser printer.
In early tests with a GelSprinter, the technology seems to live up to the claims. I found that the GelSprinter Aficio GX3000 (Ricoh's entry-level model with a USB interface for direct connection to a Windows PC) can spit out a paper version of PDF document containing a mixture of text and graphics within a second or two of the 'OK' button being clicked in the application print dialog.
The quality of the prints is more than acceptable for everyday business documents such as brochures, PowerPoint slide handouts and even putting colour letterheads onto business correspondence. It can also print automatically onto both sides of the paper, just by ticking a box in the print driver settings – something that is impractical with an inkjet.
While the GelSprinter can be connected to a network, it is not a direct competitor to a departmental laser because it can only hold up to 250 sheets of paper as standard (up to 850 on the Aficio GX5050N). This means it is best suited as a shared resource for a workgroup, perhaps as a secondary printer used when colour output is needed.
This is the niche currently occupied by inkjet printers, but the GelSprinter seems able to fulfil the same requirements, but is faster and supports duplex printing as outlined above.
A full review of the GelSprinter Aficio GX3000 will appear in a future issue of IT Week, and on the IT Week web site.
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