The Oki C110 laser printer has been heading our sub-£150 printers chart for well over a year now. However, it may feel competition in the form of this Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C, a faintly unprepossessing yet highly capable colour laser model.
Very much the bottom of Canon’s colour range, this £115 model offers surprisingly strong image quality for those prepared to wait.
Visually the Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C is plain but functional. The cream and dark-grey colour combo doesn't make for the slickest of appearances, but the Canon is ordinary rather than ugly to look at – it certainly lacks the recoiling effect of the Brother HL-5380DN, for instance.
There's no text display, and of the two buttons, the power switch is located at the bottom front of the printer, leaving just the one button on top. The colours do have their own lights, but otherwise the control panel is remarkably spartan.
The Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C comes with the boast of compact design. That, however, depends on how your deskspace works. While the printer itself is reasonably small in footprint, the paper tray has to be slotted into the front. Not only is this less robust than the traditional laser - where the paper is placed in a drawer and then tucked away out of sight - but it protrudes from the front of the printer, consuming yet more room.
The tray itself has fairly good capacity given the price, and the Canon can take 150 sheets at once. The output tray, built into the top of the Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C, holds just 50 sheets though, and its design ensures you’ll want to oversee the LBP-7010C in order to prevent the sheets from falling to the floor.
The specifications are moderate. Just 16MB of memory is included, and there are no network (wired or wireless) interfaces. For £115, though, it might be churlish to complain about such omissions.
Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C: Performance
As you might expect of such a low-priced model, speed is not the Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C's forté.
Even its text output was generated at the rate of 13 pages per minute. Having said that, such speed casts a shade over most inkjet models once they have been pushed up to a good-quality mode, and the Oki C110 is only slightly faster, at 15.8ppm. And it also comfortably beats the 9.6ppm of the more expensive HP LaserJet Pro CP1525n.
It takes just 15 seconds for the Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C printer to turn out its first sheet as well, around half the time taken on the HP.
The quality of the Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C's text is good. It lacks the crispness and perfection of more expensive models, but the characters are cleanly defined at reading distance – only becoming slightly fuzzy when you bring them close to the eye, or go to the very smallest font sizes.
Colour output comes out at a rate of 3.3ppm. This isn’t a great figure, but it beats the Oki’s 2.5ppm. The HP is faster, at 5.6ppm. but the Canon is a better printer when it comes to the quality of colour prints. The shades are more natural, yet they remain eye-catching. It doesn’t make the best job of skin tones, but digital photos typically look great, especially when used with premium media.
Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C: Running costs
The toner cartridges are supposedly easy to replace, but although we didn’t find the process to be too tricky, neither did we find the internal design to be any more straightforward to work than that of the typical 2012 printer.
Some models allow you to open up a front-mounted compartment and simply slot in new cartridges, and the Canon i-SENSYS LBP-7010C falls short of this kind of ease.
Neither is it economical to run. In fairness to Canon, the toner cartridges were only just becoming available at the time of review, so it’s possible the prices will come down. However, with current figures of 3.8p for black and 13.8p for colour, they’ll have to come down significantly to be good value. The colour, in particular, is steep, and you’ll pay significantly if you want to use this printer.