Ricoh SP 4510SF


By most measures, the Ricoh SP 4510SF ($1,099) is one of the more capable monochrome multifunction printers (MFPs) in its price class. Suitable for heavy-duty use in a small office or medium-duty use in a midsize office or workgroup, it’s built around an LED engine, which makes it essentially identical to a laser printer except that it uses LEDs rather than a laser to draw the image of each page on its drum. Its front-panel touch-screen menu is badly in need of a redesign, but if you don’t mind investing the time to make sense of the menu, the SP 4510SF$740.00 at Amazon has a lot to recommend it.

Like both the Xerox WorkCentre 3615/DN$766.85 at Amazon, which is our Editors’ Choice in this category, and the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M521dn$582.12 at Amazon, which is another top pick, the SP 4510SF offers a full set of basic MFP features. It can print and fax from, as well as scan to, a computer over a network, and it can work as a standalone copier and fax machine, with support for standard faxing over a phone line and both Internet fax (for sending faxes over the Internet) and IP fax (for sending faxes over a company Intranet).

Beyond that, the SP 4510SF can send scanned documents as email attachments without a computer, automatically forward incoming faxes as email attachments, and scan directly to an SD memory card or a USB memory key using PDF, TIFF, or JPG format. If you add the optional hard drive ($300), which was not included with our test unit, it can also let you view scanned images on the 4.3-inch color touch screen and print files from a memory card or USB key, reading the same three formats it can scan to.

Going Beyond the Basics
Still more features worth noting include the ability to print through the cloud and the ability to both print from and scan to Android and iOS devices through an access point on your network. The SP 4510SF offers an assortment of features of most interest to a larger office or enterprise workgroup, like the ability to require a password or a card swipe—using one of the printer’s optional card readers ($229 to $299)—before printing a document.

The one important shortcoming for the SP 4510SF is the touch-screen menu, which is filled with choices that are obscure at best. The steps for scanning to a USB memory key, for example, include navigating a path through menu options labeled “Send Settings” and “Store File.” Once you learn how to decode the options, using the menu is easy enough, but Ricoh would do well to rework the menu logic and option names to make them easier to follow.

Also note that that the printer can’t fax from or scan to a PC over a USB connection. Both features work only over a network. That’s unusual, but shouldn’t be a problem, since it’s unlikely that any office would get a printer with this much capability and not share it on a network.

Paper Handling
The SP 4510SF’s paper handling counts as a strong point, with a duplexer (for two-sided printing) and 600-sheet paper capacity standard, divided into a 500-sheet main tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray. You can also add up to two additional drawers, with a choice of either 500-sheet ($305 each) or 250-sheet ($169 each) drawers in any combination. That works out to a maximum total 1,600-sheet capacity, which is less than the Xerox 3615/DN’s maximum of 2,350 sheets, but still easily enough for most midsize offices.

For scanning, the printer offers both a letter-size flatbed and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), which can handle up to legal-size paper and can duplex by scanning one side of the page, turning it over, and then scanning the other. For copying, the combination of duplex printing and duplexing ADF lets you copy both single- and double-sided originals to your choice of single- or double-sided copies.

Keep in mind that a duplexing ADF isn’t as fast as a duplexing scanner, like the one in the HP M521dn, which scans both sides of the page at the same time. However being able to scan two-sided pages easily is a lot better than being limited to simplex (one-sided) scanning only.

Setup and Speed
The SP 4510SF measures 19 by 16.5 by 16.8 inches (HWD), making it far too big to share a desk with comfortably, and it weighs 50.6 pounds, which makes handling it a two-person job. However, that’s typical for this class of MFP. Setup is standard fare. For my tests I connected the printer to a network using its Ethernet port and installed the drivers on a system running Windows Vista.

The printer’s speed isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s not slow enough to consider it a problem. Ricoh rates it at 42ppm, which is the speed you should see printing in simplex mode with a text document or other file that doesn’t need much processing. However, I timed it on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at 7.1ppm in its default duplex setting and 8.8ppm in simplex mode. That makes it a bit slower than the Xerox 3615/DN, which came in at 10ppm in simplex mode. However it’s faster than the HP M521dn, which managed only 5.3ppm in simplex mode.

Output Quality and Running Cost
The SP 4510SF’s output quality is another strong point, with text and photos that are both a little better than what most monochrome MFPs can manage, and graphics quality that’s at the top of a tight range that includes the vast majority of monochrome MFPs.

The text quality isn’t quite good enough for high-quality desktop publishing applications, but it offers highly readable, well-formed characters even at small font sizes, making it easily good enough for any business need. Graphics output is suitable for any internal business use and even good enough for PowerPoint handouts or the like, assuming you consider black-and-white output acceptable. Photo output is equivalent to good-quality newspaper photos.

The printer also earns points for its low running cost. With its highest-capacity cartridge, it offers a claimed cost of 1.1 cents per page, or 0.6 cents less per page than the claimed cost for the Xerox 3615/DN. That translates to a $60 savings for every 10,000 pages you print. Print just 20,000 pages per year, or 80 pages per working day, and you’ll save $600 in five years compared with the Xerox model.

If you can make good use of a bit higher paper capacity than the Ricoh SP 4510SF offers, or you aren’t willing to accept front-panel commands that take effort to understand, be sure to consider the Xerox 3615/DN and the HP M521dn. If you don’t need a higher paper capacity, however, and aren’t bothered by the thought of having to learn the printer’s idiosyncratic menu logic, the SP 4510SF’s more-than-acceptable speed, above-par output quality, and impressively long list of MFP features make it an attractive choice.

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Ricoh SP 4510DN


Clearly designed as a workhorse monochrome printer for a small to midsize office or workgroup, the Ricoh SP 4510DN ($725) delivers a suitable level of paper handling for the job and better output quality than much of the competition. Although it uses LEDs rather than a laser for drawing the image of each page on its drum, it uses the same technology otherwise, making it fully comparable to laser printers. It was a little slower in our tests than you might expect for the 42 page-per-minute (ppm) engine rating, but for offices that are more concerned with how good the pages look than with how quickly they print, it’s an excellent choice.

The SP 4510DNBest Price at Amazon is essentially in the same class as the Dell B3460dn$549.99 at Dell, which is our Editors’ Choice monochrome laser for heavy-duty use in a small office or moderate use in a midsize office or workgroup. The Dell model delivers significantly better speed, but the Ricoh printer delivers better output quality. Assuming you connect it to a network, it also offers support for printing through the cloud and for both printing from and scanning to Android and iOS devices through an access point on the network.

The Dell B3460dn offers the higher paper capacity of the two, but the SP 4510DN’s paper handling is good enough to count as a strong point. The printer comes with a 500-sheet main tray, a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, and a duplexer (for two-sided printing) standard. You can also add up to two additional trays with capacities of either 500 sheets ($305 each) or 250 sheets ($169 each) in any combination. The maximum total of 1,600 sheets is easily enough for most midsize offices, but less than the Dell B3460dn’s 2,300-sheet maximum.

One other notable option for the SP 4510DN is a hard drive ($300), which wasn’t in the review unit. According to Ricoh, adding the hard drive adds private printing, letting you send a job to the printer, but not print it until you enter a PIN code at the front panel. The drive also lets you store forms you use repeatedly on it, so you can print them on demand from the front panel.

Setup and Speed
The SP 4510DN is a typical size and weight for the category, at 12 by 14.6 by 15.4 inches (HWD) and 34.2 pounds. Setup is absolutely standard, with a choice of USB or Ethernet connections and the option to add a parallel port ($134) or Wi-Fi ($400). For my tests, I connected it to a wired network and installed the driver on a Windows Vista system.

The rated speed of 42 pages per minute (ppm) is what you should see when printing a text file, with little or no formatting in simplex (one-sided) mode. On our business applications suite, however (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), I clocked the printer at 6.9ppm in its default duplex setting and 8ppm in simplex (one-sided) mode. That makes it a lot slower than the Dell B3460dn at 15.3ppm in its default simplex mode.

It’s not even hard to find less expensive printers with faster speeds. For example, the Dell B2360d$149.99 at Amazon, which is our preferred pick for medium-duty use in a small office, managed 15ppm on our tests (also in simplex mode). Overall, the SP 4510DN’s speed is acceptable, but a little slow for both the price and engine rating.

Output Quality
A key saving grace for the SP 4510DN—but not the only one—is its output quality. Text and photo quality are both a step above par for a monochrome laser printer, and graphics quality is at the top of a tight range that includes the vast majority of monochrome lasers.

For text, that translates to highly readable, well-formed characters even at small font sizes, although the output is just short of being suitable for high-quality desktop publishing. Graphics output is easily good enough for any internal business use, including PowerPoint handouts, assuming you consider black-and-white output acceptable at all. Photo output is equivalent to good-quality photos in a newspaper.

Also in the SP 4510DN’s favor is its low running cost. Its highest-capacity cartridge offers a 12,000-page yield and a claimed cost of just 1.1 cents per page—a savings of 0.5 cents for each page compared with the Dell B3460. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up to a $50 savings for every 10,000 pages. Print just 20,000 pages per year, or 80 pages per working day—which isn’t much for a workhorse printer in a medium-size office—and you’ll save $500 over five years compared with the Dell B3460.

If you don’t need particularly high-quality output, be sure to consider the Dell B3460dn for its fast speed and high paper capacity along with output that’s easily suitable for most business needs. But also consider whether the speed and paper capacity outweighs the Ricoh SP 4510DN’s low running cost. Beyond that, if you need the SP 4510DN’s high-quality output, it will almost certainly be the better fit in any case.

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