Ricoh Aficio SP C222DN Color Laser Printer

“Middling in price, performance, and design, this color laser printer suffers from spotty documentation.”

This is a tagline of Melissa Riofrio’s reviewed of Ricoh Aficio SP C222DN Color Laser Printer for Washington Post. She says the Ricoh’s Aficio SP C222DN, being a lower-cost color laser printers, demonstrates some of the challenges of lower-costing. This midpriced printer performs adequately but could use some refinement.

First problems started with the installation. Instructions for physical setup are wordless (it’s comics-like poster) but pretty clear. It says to proceed to the “Software Installation Guide for Network Connection” for further instructions, but those are dreadfully inadequate, missing steps and key details. Worse, a document covering USB installation is available only on the included CD, making it less than readily available. The rest of the documentation, available in both HTML and PDF, is good.

The design was also found confusing at various points. The control panel’s few buttons perform some functions through obscure key combinations, and the printer has no LCD to spell them out for you. The foldout front panel lacks handles and feels flimsy, as does the 250-sheet main input tray. Extending the tray for legal-size paper involves a finicky pinch-and-pull process; the handle for pulling out the tray is in the same area as the manual-feed slot, too, which can be confusing. The top-exiting, 150-sheet output tray is straightforward, at least. An optional 500-sheet input tray is available. Automatic duplexing is standard, which is nice.

In conducted tests text documents churned out at a speed of 17.4 pages per minute (ppm) and graphics pieces output at 2.4 ppm (at best). Text looked dark and precise; but graphics we printed on plain paper suffered from a slightly faded look, as well as graininess or moir patterns. Use of glossy laser paper fixed the problem, but only partially.

Toner capacities of the SP C222DN are low, which means high consumables costs. The machine comes with starter black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges of 1000-page yield. The standard-size cartridges last for 2000 pages each and cost $55 for black (2.7 cents per page) and $100 for each color (5 cents per color, per page). The cartridges are easy to install and replace, but the transfer placement could have been better (it lies exposed during the process.)

Ricoh’s Aficio SP C222DN is targeted for small offices or workgroups, but for its spotty installation documentation and inferior design elements miss the mark, it leaves much to be desired; such users deserve a more friendly experience.

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