Konica Minolta Magicolor 3730DN

9/15/2012 3:04:03 PM

Lovely prints. You’ll pay for ’em, though

Konica Minolta’s new Magicolor 3730DN is designed to be greener than similar colour lasers in this class. It costs only $325, despite claiming a decent 24ppm print speed in both mono and colour modes, which looks like a pretty good deal for small workgroups.

It’s a huge, heavy printer and the print engine is arranged sideways in relation to the front panel. The paper tray and consuma­bles are accessed through the front, but the manual feed slot is to the right, so you need to keep the desktop clear on two sides. On the plus side, it has an integrated duplex unit.

Description: Good-looking printer, great-looking prints, sad-looking bank balance

Good-looking printer, great-looking prints, sad-looking bank balance

These days, most manufacturers’ install programs find their printers on the network and do the configuration for you, but Konica Minolta’s is a blast from the past. You need to use the printer’s display to find its IP address.

The3730DN uses Konica Minolta’s Simitri polymerised toner, which uses less power than conventional loner by fusing at lower temperatures.

The benefits were evident in our print quality tests: text across a range of sizes was pin-sharp with no discernible smudging or dust­ing. Mono photo­graphs revealed impressive levels of detail, particularly in darker areas, and banding was kept to a minimum.

For such a low-cost printer, its colour output was surprisingly good. Our test prints showed good colour balance and detail, while our colour performance chart also confirmed that the 3730DN produces better results than Konica Minolta’s higher-end 4750DN. Grey shades using equal mixes of C, Y and M toner were reproduced faithfully, whereas the 4750DN was too enthusiastic with its yellow toner.

This is a GDI (CUPS) printer, so the page needs to be processed by OS X before being passed to the printer, rather than vector data being sent to the printer for processing. This will munch some CPU time on your Mac while pages are output, but shouldn’t stop you doing anything else.

Despite that, though, we found print speeds were good, with our 24-page text document churning out in 60 seconds. The driver offers three resolutions, and the docu­ment was delivered at the same speed for each setting. Our 24-page DTP print fared less well, but its collection of photos and graphics still printed at a decent 14.5ppm.

Duplex printing is activated from the driver panel, but it will only let you print at up to 1,200 x 600dpi in this mode. However, double-sided speeds are good: our 24-page text document completed in one minute seven seconds.

The driver provides a good range of con­trols, with options to print multiple pages on one sheet, as well as booklets and large posters. Installation could be improved. How­ever, as Konica’s driver installation routine couldn’t find the printer on our network. We had to print a configuration page to get the unit’s IP address and enter it manually.

The 3730DN’s printing costs are a con­cern. Along with the four toner cartridges, you have belt, transfer roller and fuser, plus waste bottles, and these all push the cost per mono page to 2.6p and a pocket-thumping 12.3p for colour.

You can reduce these figures by using high-yield cartridges, which makes a mod­est difference, at 2.2p for mono and 10.9p for colour. Initial costs will be even higher, as the printer ships with 2,000-page mono and 1,000-page colour cartridges, while the starter belt unit lasts for only 50,000 pages.

For less than $375, the Magicolor 3730DN has plenty going for it: it’s fast and delivers good overall print quality in both mono and colour. Unfortunately, its high running costs make it a sensible choice only for those with a limited need for colour.

Description: Konica Minolta Magicolor 3730DN

Pages per minute

24pp plain text: 60 secs 24ppm

24pp DTP: 1.37 mins 14.5ppm

Six 6 X 4in photos: 52 secs 6.9ppm

2,400 X 600dpi





Price: $325 inc VAT


Needs: OS X 10.2.8, 10.3.9 or later

Pro: Nice prints, Cheap to buy, Decent print speeds

Con: Bigger and heavier than it looks, Off-puttingly high running costs


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