With its smooth, white finish, the Ricoh Aficio BP20N looks classy. It's a little pricey for a small office laser, but it's easy to use and produces sharp-looking text. Its minimalist control panel consists of a single cancel button and two lights.
When you look at the BP20N from the front, you might think the printer has a very small footprint - but it doesn't. It isn't huge, but the printer's standard 250-sheet paper drawer extends into a bump at the rear that also houses the power supply and connectors. A secondary paper tray folds down from the front to accommodate up to 50 sheets of alternate paper, or a short stack of five envelopes. You can add a single optional 250-sheet paper tray, bringing the maximum paper capacity up to 550 sheets. Replacement toner cartridges rated for 5000 pages by Ricoh may seem expensive, but their integrated drum assemblies mean there are no other parts to replace. This keeps maintenance simple and lets users achieve a reasonable cost per page of $US0.02.
The BP20N doesn't win any prizes for performance. At 17ppm for text printing, it ranks about average but slower than many we have tested recently. Graphics pages crawled out at a mediocre 6.4ppm.
The printer achieved good text and line art scores in our subjective quality tests, but didn't cope so well with graphics. I saw nicely formed lettering, with only slightly fuzzy edges and a bit of stepping in diagonals. Solids were smooth and consistent. Some narrow banding affected blocks of both vertical and horizontal closely spaced parallel lines. It also marred our grayscale image, which came out too light.
Upshot: The straightforward and attractive Aficio BP20N can make an easy addition for supporting small workgroups on any network.