The Magicolor 2430DL is a network-ready, color laser printer that costs less than $500. It is also the first laser printer I’ve seen that has added the ability to print directly from a PictBridge-enabled digital camera. Though I was skeptical of just how much use this feature would be on an entry-level color laser, I found the 2430DL offers above-average photo printing for a laser printer.
Setting up the printer was fairly straightforward, but the process could use a bit of finessing. The toner cartridges are pre-installed, and all you need to do is remove some tape and clips that are hard to miss. Then, turn the printer on, hook up an Ethernet cable, and attach it to your network. Locate and install the OS X drivers on the installation CD (you’ll have to dig around as it’s buried a little too deep within the nested folders) and the printer shows up in the Bonjour (formerly Rendezvous) tab of the Print Set Up control panel.
The printer also can be connected directly to your Mac via USB 2.0. The included installation guide was a bit confusing, opting for diagrams rather than written directions. I misunderstood one step and thus failed to flip down two tabs. Until I figured out my mistake, the toner wouldn’t stick to the page, creating a mess.
Once installed correctly, the printed output was impressive (and quite a bit cleaner). When compared to the output of other laser printers, the 2430DL’s text was a little heavy and dark, but still very clean and legible. Colors were also more saturated and a bit darker, but fairly accurate.
This printer, like an increasing number of entry-level laser printers these days, does not offer PostScript or PostScript emulation. It’s a GDI (Graphical Device Interface ) printer that, like an inkjet, relies on your computer to do the heavy lifting of image processing. The only prints that were less than stellar on the 2430DL were the PDF test files. Text that had looked clean and crisp when printed from Microsoft Word now looked somewhat jagged, as did some fine curved lines and slopes. The printer did a very good job printing colors, color ramps, and gradients.
The 2430DL has a PictBridge USB port that allows you to print photos directly from PictBridge-enabled cameras. With the standard configuration of 32MB of installed memory, you are limited to printing those photos in Draft mode (600 by 600dpi). Upgrading the amount of installed RAM to at least 128MB adds Normal- and Fine- quality print options. Nobody will mistake these prints for lab processed photos, but I can see how this feature could really come in handy at a real estate office, for example. Computerless printing may be all the rage, but I find it easier to print from iPhoto than from my camera.
One more thing: This printer is noisy. It makes a chugging sound that can shake the table, and not only when you’re printing. This may not be a big problem for large offices, but if you’ll definitely notice it in a small home office.
Macworld’s Buying Advice.
With an attractive low price, accurate and saturated color prints, and unique features like PictBridge camera printing, this networked color laser could be a great buy for a home or small workgroup that doesn’t require PostScript printing capabilities, and for people who do not have sensitive ears.
|10-Page Word Test||1:28|
|1-Page Word Test||0:25|
|22MB Photoshop Image||1:19|
|Graphics—Fine Lines, Gradients||Good|
|22MB Photoshop Image Quality||Very Good|
|Text Quality||Very Good|
Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable
|Print Resolution||2400 x 600 dpi|
|Connection||USB 2.0, Ethernet|
|Paper Sizes||Letter, legal|
|Installed RAM/Max RAM||32MB/544MB|
|Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Carts||$340/low capacity, $475/high-capacity|
|Weight (in pounds)||39.6|
|Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches)||13.4 x 19.8 x 16.9|
|Special Features||PictBridge USB port on front for connecting cameras.|