Konica Minolta’s latest colour laser multifunction unit is the bizhub c200, a stripped-down and cheaper version of the c203. The c200 is aimed at those offices that need basic networked colour printing without the cost associated with more fully featured multifunctions. Unfortunately, in removing the frills that come with most workgroup multifunctions, the c200 ends up little more than an oversized desktop multifunction with A3 capability. Put simply, there are better desktop machines out there with most of the same capabilities.
The review unit sent to us by Konica Minolta was fitted with all the available accessories and upgraded memory. This is certainly desirable, though buying this configuration will end up costing you more than the c203, which provides most of these functions as standard. With the base model you’ll get significantly less: a single paper tray, 576MB of memory, no automatic duplex, no fax function and several of the document feeders that actually make the printer worthwhile will be missing.
As with most workgroup multifunctions, the bizhub C200 provides a Web interface to facilitate remote administration. Disappointingly, the interface on the c200 is so bare, it essentially only allows users to personalise their one-touch button scan button. The Web interface seems more like a placeholder rather than the final product itself. This leaves all other administration and configuration to the c200’s on-board LCD screen, with a hugely outdated monochrome display and layout. It’s useable, but only barely.
The bizhub c200 is a low-volume machine, though even here the machine’s specifications won’t realistically meet the needs of a medium-sized business. The base model’s single input paper tray holds a maximum of 250 sheets, though this can be expanded to 3350 sheets through added paper trays. Konica Minolta rates the bizhub c200 at a suggested monthly duty cycle of 8,000 pages, an insufficient number for an SMB.
Speed is yet another falling point for the bizhub c200. The c200 is consistent at 20 pages per minute regardless of quality setting or colour intensity, but these speeds are easily attainable by desktop laser printers and are hardly competitive even for a base model workgroup multifunction.
Print quality is acceptable for low volume use, though it isn’t fantastic. At a maximum resolution of 600x600 dots per inch for both mono and colour printing, the bizhub c200 produces readable and reasonably clean text. Characters aren’t as well-defined as those printed by Fuji Xerox’s Phaser 8560MFP but there are no aberrations.
Colour printing is comparatively sub-par. Graphical documents have largely accurate colours but they lack the gloss that gives laser printed documents a professional look. The bizhub c200’s printing preferences proved fickle in our tests as well — turning on the c200’s Photo mode caused yellows to oddly become green, a result that made photo and graphical printing difficult to properly configure.
With no option for a hard drive, the bizhub c200 will only scan to e-mail or, if the Fax Kit is installed, to a fax number. This is easily initiated — after setting up the one-touch configuration and our ISP’s SMTP settings, the c200 successfully and quickly scanned the image and sent it to the desired e-mail address. It’s largely hassle-free, but without an option to save to a network server or on-board storage, the scanning functionality is inefficient.
Thankfully, scan quality is decent. Capable of scanning at the same 600x600dpi resolution as it prints, the bizhub c200 manages extremely detailed scans with no aberrations or noticeable loss of quality. Copies are perhaps slightly dark and grainy, but straight digital scans retained all of the source image’s detail.
Unfortunately, even with decent scanning capability, the bizhub c200 just isn’t up to scratch. If you really need laser colour for a reasonable price with low to medium volume printing requirements, a desktop machine is still easily able to fill the gap.