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-- by Cheryl Dominianni
The Canon LBP-465, with its sharp, clear 4-page-per-minute images, is a welcome addition to the low-cost personal laser printer market. Its compact size (9.8 by 13.2 by 12.6 inches), simple installation and excellent user manual make it a desktop natural.
The LBP-465 uses the Microsoft Windows printing system, which allows bidirectional communication between the printer and PC. We especially liked the pop-up Printer Status window, which showed a print job's progress and its estimated completion time. A toolbar allowed you to suspend and continue printing, force print, cancel a print job or print a self test.
Other printer control options, accessible through the Windows application itself or via Windows 95's PRINTERS folder (Print Manager in Windows 3.x), let you select paper size and type, resolution (300 or 600 dots per inch), halftone settings, orientation and number of copies. A handy scaling option lets you scale an image from one-tenth to double the original size.
We found the quality of text printing at 300dpi very similar to that at 600dpi, so you'll be able to save on toner with the lower setting (surprisingly, results of text printing times were also about the same). Printing graphics at 300dpi was up to twice as fast but with a corresponding drop in print quality.
The LBP-465's built-in sheet feeder handles up to 100 sheets; the machine prints on plain paper (legal or letter), card stock, transparencies, labels and various envelope sizes. In our tests, it easily handled all paper types (maximum paper weight is 36 pounds). With only one paper tray, however, we had to remove the paper supply before printing on nonstandard media. It lacked an output tray, which made paper handling more difficult.
The LBP-465 comes with 256KB of memory (not upgradable) and bundles Canon Creative Tools, which provides an additional 300 TrueType fonts and more than 300 clip-art images and borders. Canon estimates that the $63.71 LBP-465 toner cartridge will produce approximately 2,500 pages at 5 percent coverage, so you'll pay about 2.5 cents per page.
The printer lives up to its advertised 4ppm speed; after a wait time of 15 seconds, we got four full sheets of text in 60 seconds. A full sheet of clip art took about 1 minute at 600dpi. The results of both our clip art and text-based tests compared very favorably with desktop laser printers costing twice as much. The LBP-465's text was crisp, and even the smaller fonts were easily legible. But others in this class, such as the Brother HL-720 Laser Printer currently on our Recommended List, offer faster 6ppm printing. Still, the LBP-465's excellent overall performance, along with the one-year InstantExchange and three-year limited warranty, make it an attractive printer package.
Canon is a leader in the ink jet arena, and this new machine proves the company can now challenge the top personal laser manufacturers as well.