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Ricoh Aficio SP C240SF Review
The Ricoh Aficio SP C240SF color laser MFP prints a lot faster than you’d expect from its rated speed.
(4 out of 5)
- Ample paper capacity for a small office
- Standalone fax and copier
- Scans to PC over network.
- Default installation doesn’t install fax driver on PC.
File the Ricoh Aficio SP C240SF ($400 street) under (mostly) pleasant surprises. Aimed at small to medium-size offices and workgroups with relatively heavy-duty print needs, it delivers fast speed for the price, ample paper handling, and acceptable output quality across the board. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of Editors’ Choice, but it comes as close as it can get and still be on the wrong side of the line.
In some ways, the C240SF (check price) offers more than either the Dell 2155cn ($549.99 direct, 4 stars) or Dell 1355cnw Multifunction Color Printer ($419.99 direct, 4 stars), two Editors’ Choice competitors. Where it misses the Editors’ Choice boat is with small, but annoying, issues. One unpleasant surprise, for example, is that the default installation option doesn’t install the PC Fax driver.
This oversight means that if you if don’t notice the separate option for the fax driver when you first install the printer, you’re probably going to need to call Ricoh to find out how to get the feature working. Worse, though, is that if you don’t know that PC faxing is supposed to be available, you could easily use the printer for its entire lifetime and never find out that you don’t have to print documents before you can fax them.
The good news is that everything else works without problems. In addition to printing and faxing from your PC (once you figure out how to install the fax driver), you can scan to your PC, including over a network, and use the C240SF for standalone copying and faxing. Welcome extras include the ability to scan directly to a USB key and print from PictBridge cameras. In addition, a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF) supplements the letter-size flatbed for easy scanning of legal-size pages and multi-page documents.
The C240SF’s paper handling is also a strong point, with a 250-sheet tray and duplexer (for printing on both sides of the page) standard, along with a one-sheet manual feed tray so you can feed individual sheets of a different paper stock. If you need more capacity, you can get a 500-sheet second tray ($149 list), for a total 750 sheets.
Setup, Speed, and Output Quality
As you might expect from the paper handling features, the C240SF is physically hefty. It weighs in at 66.2 pounds, which means you’ll probably want some help moving it into place. It’s also a little too large, at 18.7 by 16.5 by 19.4 inches (HWD), to comfortably share a desk with. If you have a spot for it, however, setup is standard fare. For my tests, I connected it to a wired network and ran the tests from a Windows Vista system.
One of the more pleasant surprises for the C240SF was its fast speed. Ricoh rates the engine at 16 pages per minute (ppm) for both black and white and color, which should be close to what you’ll see when printing text files without graphics or photos. On our business applications suite, however, its effective speed leaves printers with faster engine ratings in the dust.
On our business applications suite, I timed it (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software) at an effective 6.3 ppm, essentially tied with or a touch faster than the Dell 2155cn (check price), which is rated at 24 ppm and scored 5.9 ppm on our tests. (The 0.4 ppm difference isn’t significant.) Even the far more expensive Editors’ Choice Lexmark X548dte ($1749 direct, 4 stars) was only a little faster, at 7.0 ppm
The C240SF’s output quality isn’t a strong point, but it’s acceptable across the board—at the low end of par for a color laser MFP for text, just below par for graphics, and par for photos. Text quality is good enough for most business applications as long as you don’t have an unusual need for small fonts, which in this context means smaller than 6 points for typical fonts used in business documents.
Graphics output has a tendency to lose thin lines, but is generally good enough for any internal use. Photos approach true photo quality, making them good enough for a client or company newsletter, for example.
If you need high quality across the board—for printing your own trifold brochures, for example—you should be looking elsewhere. But if your primary need is for an MFP that’s suitable for relatively heavy-duty print needs in a small office, the Ricoh SP C240SF’s fast speed, good paper handling, and acceptable output quality, may well be precisely the right fit.
By M. David Stone, PCMag