With a price tag close to that of the mono Brother HL-5340D, the Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n colour laser printer looks a bargain. And so it is, as long as you're prepared to put up with a few compromises.

The Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n isn't plastered with buttons and lights, but the clean lines and smooth curves are easier on the eye than many an industrial laser.

It's relatively light, weighing a third less than the most colour lasers we've reviewed - although those upgrading from an inkjet will find the Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n a substantial addition to the desktop.

In the same vein, the Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n is quiet compared to the typical laser, but its regular churns and groans may put off those used to an underpowered inkjet. And this model is far more likely to appeal to a home (and possibly small business) audience than that of a sizeable company.

A Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n without networking capabilities is available for £15 less. While you could share this printer between two or three closely sited users, we couldn't recommend it if many users need access.

The paper trays are too small - a maximum of 150 sheets, and only 125 sheets can be supported by the otherwise effective output tray. The lack of physical buttons may also annoy some users.

Versatility of paper size is a problem, with the traditional multi-purpose feeder being replaced by a manual one-page slot.

We found printing to be erratic. Sometimes the Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n would pause for half a minute in the middle of a job - particularly annoying given that it takes over 20 seconds for the first print. Many colour lasers achieve this in half the time. But inkjet upgraders are likely to find it a substantial step up.

When operating without pauses, the Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n was turning out paper at almost nine pages a minute. That's no patch on more expensive colour lasers in our Top Five, but compared to an inkjet this is luxury - Particularly given the clean and well defined output. Relatively dark and blurr-free, this is a very good text printer.

The Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n is not bad on colour either. We found some of the shades to be slightly artificial (particularly blues), but the results were very colourful and quite eye catching.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

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Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n: Specs

  • Colour laser printer
  • max resolution 9600x600dpi (600x600 optical)
  • quoted print speed B=12ppm C=8ppm
  • actual print speed B=8.8ppm C=4.9ppm
  • USB 2.0 & ethernet
  • 150-sheet input tray and 1-sheet manual feed slot
  • Toner costs B=£75 C=£69 x 3
  • Print life (pages) B=2,300 C=1,500 x 3
  • 401x452x262mm
  • 18.5kg
  • Colour laser printer
  • max resolution 9600x600dpi (600x600 optical)
  • quoted print speed B=12ppm C=8ppm
  • actual print speed B=8.8ppm C=4.9ppm
  • USB 2.0 & ethernet
  • 150-sheet input tray and 1-sheet manual feed slot
  • Toner costs B=£75 C=£69 x 3
  • Print life (pages) B=2,300 C=1,500 x 3
  • 401x452x262mm
  • 18.5kg

OUR VERDICT

The Canon i-SENSYS LBP5050n isn’t without its flaws, but overall this is a very commendable printer. The quality is good – very good on text – and even if the specifications don’t compare with those of other colour lasers, the price tag is sufficiently low to make this a genuine upgrade from an inkjet.

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