A gel-based alternative to an inkjet or laser printer
The Ricoh Aficio SG 2100N is an unusual colour printer. Instead of using ink or toner cartridges like an inkjet or laser, it uses blocks of soy-based gel. Ricoh claims this technology allows the printer to match a cheap mono laser for speed and ainning costs, but with the high-quality colour printing of an inkjet. One clear advantage is that prints made with its gel-based inks dry quickly without smudges.
The sturdily made SG 2100N has an Ethernet port, so you can connect it to a router and share it among your computers.
Unusually, everything on this printer is accessed from the front, which means you could squeeze it into some tight spaces such as shelves, or even stack other devices on top. Ricoh says that it’s designed to print up to 10,000 pages a month so it can easily handle the printing needs of most small offices.
While Ricoh claims an impressive 29 pages per minute (ppm) in black or colour, in our test this printer was far slower. A text document printed at 11.4ppm, rising to 19.5ppm using the draft-quality setting. We were impressed with the print quality only when we used the slightly slower High Quality setting. This produced crisper text and sharper colour graphics, particularly on coated inkjet paper.
The SG 2100N has pretty low running costs of 3.6p per black page and 10.6p for colour, but many inkjets are now even cheaper to run and have better print quality. Unless the SG 2100N’s spacesaving design is a priority, you should spend a little more for an inkjet instead.
The SG 2100N is cheap to buy and is reasonably quick, but both print quality and running costs could be better.
3600x1200dpi maximum print resolution • 29ppm • A4 paper sizes • 213x399x360mm (HxWxD) • 9.5kg • One-year warranty