Canon CLBP400

Capable of connecting directly to a PC or network (with the optional Ethernet board), yet retailing for less than $5000, this is the latest in a long line of colour laser printers built specifically with workgroups in mind.

The CLBP400 covers all the essentials: documents can be produced in full colour or black and white (monochrome) on a broad variety of media, including labels, transparencies and envelopes. The printer ships with a 250-sheet paper cassette, as well as a 100-sheet multi-purpose tray that can handle thick paper up to 135gsm. A 500-sheet paper feeder is available for high-volume output, as is an optional duplexing unit for double-sided printing.

With a claimed print speed of four pages per minute for colour and 16 pages per minute for black and white, the CLBP400 falls well within the expected norm for colour laser output speed. Although speed is important, print quality and ease of use are equally crucial - especially when you consider that most colour laser printers end up in marketing or sales departments - places where employees have a high need for colour print outs, but which traditionally aren't hotbeds of technological know-how.

The CLBP400 is easy to use and install, but still offers plenty of options for advanced users. New tools from Canon let you customise print jobs directly using the printer driver, allowing you to merge files and preview documents before printing. Other printer driver capabilities include special features for overlay and booklet printing, as well as for multiple page printing, which lets you save paper by cramming several pages of a document onto a single sheet.

The CLBP400's colour printouts are of a consistently high quality: images appear clear and crisp, with strong colours and even tones. The printer's straight paper path is also a bonus, transferring colour images to paper in one pass and thereby cutting down the risk of paper jams - a common problem with early colour printers, both inkjet and laser.

Canon CLBP400

Price: $4895; Supplier: Canon; Phone: (02) 9805 2000; URL: www.canon.com.au.

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Matt Rodgers

PC World
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