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Minolta-QMS PagePro review: Minolta-QMS PagePro

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The Good Good print speed and quality; has both parallel and USB ports; top-notch phone support.

The Bad Incomplete documentation; loud.

The Bottom Line Budget buyers, this personal laser printer will fit right in your home or small office.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

For those who need an inexpensive personal laser printer, the PagePro 1250W is a good fit, thanks to its fast print speeds and good-quality text. Even its so-so graphics printouts will do for all informal jobs. Better, the 1250W saves you some additional money by separating the ink and the drum cartridges. However, the lack of any networking capability, together with limited memory and very simple software, means that we recommend this laser printer for only single-person home offices. Both the Brother HL-5040 and the Dell P1500 personal laser printer are better suited for larger offices.



Larger than your average personal laser.
This sturdy, squared-off Minolta-QMS personal laser printer looks an awful lot like a breadbox, if not for its two paper trays. The input tray at the bottom can handle up to only 150 sheets, and the face-down output tray accepts up to 100 sheets; other printers in this class usually input 250 sheets. However, unlike the equally inexpensive, similarly equipped, and far older Samsung ML-1430, the PagePro is upgradable: You can purchase an optional 500-sheet feeder for $149 and attach it to the bottom of the printer. Another optional 20-sheet, face-up output tray costs $19 and attaches to the printer's top.

With the output and input trays extended, the 1250W measures 15.4 by 16.1 by 14.6 inches, somewhat larger than the typical personal laser printer. Both trays fold up against the unit to save space when it's not in use, a nice feature for space-starved small offices. The printer weighs 18.74 pounds, so it isn't too heavy for most adults to move around.


The PagePro 1250W can connect to your PC via either a parallel or a USB 1.1 port. (We'd prefer the faster USB 2.0 standard that many lasers, including the Dell P1500 personal laser printer, support.) As usual, both ports reside on the back of the printer. There's no Ethernet port, either, but we wouldn't expect to see one in such a basic printer. The On/Off switch sits unobtrusively on the printer's left side.



Supports both parallel and USB connections.


Goes easy on the controls.


Like most personal laser printers, the PagePro has few controls. The uncluttered control panel, located to the right of the output tray, sports just two indicator lights--orange for Errors and green for Ready--and a button that lets you cancel or resume a print job. Unfortunately, the 1250W's sparse control panel is echoed by its limited memory.

The 1250W comes with 8MB of SDRAM installed, and it isn't upgradable, which would make it hard to fit this printer into an office that processes a lot of print jobs. It works with Windows 95 through XP; Mac users will have to look elsewhere.

The enclosed CD contains a printer driver, a useful link to Minolta's online help files, and another link to Minolta's online store. The driver includes a simple status display that offers page counts and pop-up warnings. But don't bother looking for the driver display if you are using the USB port with Windows 98 or NT 4.0--it won't be there, which is a minor inconvenience. In addition, the status utility won't load if you install the printer driver using Plug-and-Play (that is, by just plugging in the printer and letting it go from there); you will have to load the driver using the CD's setup program.




Separate drum and toner cartridges save dough.
Looking to save a little money on consumables? You're in the right place. Unlike many SOHO laser printers, the PagePro uses separate ink and drum cartridges, which means that you don't have to replace both simultaneously. Since the drum can handle more pages that the toner, you'll need to buy only one drum for every three or four ink cartridges. The ink cartridge costs $78 for 3,000 pages at 5 percent coverage; there's also a high-capacity cartridge that will give you 6,000 pages for $126. The drum cartridge costs $105 to replace and yields 20,000 pages. In contrast, the new Dell P1500 personal laser printer drum/toner cartridge costs $99 for 3,000 pages, as opposed to the approximately $93 cost with the PagePro.

As with many personal laser printers, the Minolta PagePro 1250W suffers from noisy printing. Although not overwhelmingly loud, this laser does let you know when it's printing, which can get annoying in small spaces.

For a personal laser, however, the 1250W delivers reasonable print speeds, especially if you consider that the PagePro is considerably less expensive than most laser printers in its class. In CNET Labs' text-printing test, the PagePro came in at 12.44 pages per minute (ppm), which is faster than the results from its sibling, the Minolta PagePro 1250E, which reached 11.9ppm, but it's slower than Brother's most recent personal laser, the HL-5040, which printed 13.9ppm. At 11.48ppm, the 1250W's score for graphics printing came in slightly under that of the PagePro 1250E (11.7ppm), but the 1250W's rating beat the Dell P1500 personal laser printer's 8ppm.

Ultimately, however, when it comes to laser printing, output quality is paramount. Fortunately, the 1250W generated good-quality text overall, with crisp and clean lettering. Fair-to-middling graphics output suffered from occasional blurring, but it was passable enough for all but the most formal presentations.

Laser printer speed (personal and workgroup)
Pages per minute (Longer bars indicate better performance)

Text  
Text/graphics  
Brother HL-5040
13.9 
12.5 
Dell P1500 personal laser printer
12.9 
8.0 
Minolta PagePro 1250W
12.4 
11.5 
Minolta PagePro 1250E
11.9 
11.6 
 
Inkjet printer quality
•Poor   ••Fair   •••Good   ••••Excellent
 Printer  Text  Graphics
 Brother HL-5040 ••• ••
 Dell P1500 personal laser printer ••• ••
 Minolta PagePro 1250W ••• ••
 Minolta PagePro 1250E •••• •••
 
The Minolta PagePro 1250W's help documentation could use some assistance itself. The lone setup guide is written in four languages (English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese) in type that's so small that most people over the age of 30 will need a magnifying glass to read it. For some reason, the setup guide specifies how to install neither the ink cartridge nor the drum cartridge (nor does it even mention that you need to install them). To find that information, you must go to the user guide, which is available only on the included CD-ROM or online. The Web site offers drivers, FAQs, an answer base, and comprehensive documentation but no e-mail or chat-based tech support.

On the other hand, Minolta's phone support (available weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT) is faultless. When we called, we reached a technician immediately, and while we could tell that he was running through a script, he stuck with us until the problem was diagnosed. The standard one-year limited warranty includes parts and labor, assuming your problems result from normal use.

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