Spending the best part of £1,000 on a printer will seem excessive to the average home user. But things work differently in the commercial sector.

As you would expect of a business-oriented printer, the Magicolor 5550 isn't intended to be tethered to the back of a single PC - although it does have USB and parallel connections in case you wish to do just that. Instead, the Konica Minolta has been designed to spread its talents across a network, featuring comprehensive support for a host of network protocols (including TCP/IP, EtherTalk, Netware and NetBEUI).

The printer is sturdily built, and comes with a similarly robust array of flaps and appendages. The Magicolor's industrial theme extends to its maximum duty cycle: a forest-devouring 120,000 prints per month, twice that of many of its rivals.

Paper handling is good, with the 5550’s standard input tray capable of taking 500 sheets. If necessary, you can double this with an optional second tray. The standard allocation of memory is also upgradeable - the Magicolor can be equipped with as much as 1,024MB.

Our tests revealed real-world mono speed to be some way off the figure of 30ppm (pages per minute) touted by Konica Minolta, but 17ppm is still a very respectable showing. The printer also worked very well with colour graphics, turning out an impressive 10.7ppm.

Graphical detail was also remarkably good. Admittedly, the 5550 still can't better a top-flight inkjet and photographic paper combo, but our test prints displayed remarkable clarity and precision, thanks to the 9,600x600dpi output.

Konica Minolta Magicolor 5550: Specs

  • Max resolution 9,600x600dpi
  • installed RAM 256MB
  • max RAM 1,152MB
  • quoted print speed B=30ppm C=25.6ppm
  • actual print speed B=17ppm C=10.7ppm
  • USB 1.1/2.0
  • parallel port
  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BaseTX)
  • standard paper input
  • 500-sheet cassette, 100-sheet multipurpose tray
  • max paper input 1,600 sheets with optional trays
  • toner costs B=£54 C=£93
  • print life (pages) B=6,000 C=6,000
  • 1-year onsite warranty
  • 420x526x440 mm
  • 37kg
  • Max resolution 9,600x600dpi
  • installed RAM 256MB
  • max RAM 1,152MB
  • quoted print speed B=30ppm C=25.6ppm
  • actual print speed B=17ppm C=10.7ppm
  • USB 1.1/2.0
  • parallel port
  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BaseTX)
  • standard paper input
  • 500-sheet cassette, 100-sheet multipurpose tray
  • max paper input 1,600 sheets with optional trays
  • toner costs B=£54 C=£93
  • print life (pages) B=6,000 C=6,000
  • 1-year onsite warranty
  • 420x526x440 mm
  • 37kg

OUR VERDICT

The Konica Minolta Magicolor 5550 is the very definition of a heavyweight printer. It may not be the swiftest mover in the land - nor the cheapest - but the excellent print quality, comprehensive network support and hardy engineering make it well worth a look.

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