Ricoh Talks A4 Color MFPs

Fresh off its introduction of two new color A4 MFPs, the Aficio MP C400 and MP C300, Ricoh executives discussed the  firm’s new A4 strategy via an online Web seminar. Steven Burger, Vice President of Product Marketing at Ricoh Americas, noted that the two A4 color MFPs are the first in a new class of products the company is billing as “hybrid MFPs.”

Aficio MPC 300

While Ricoh currently markets A4 MFPs, the new systems represent a concerted effort to marry the best of both A3 and A4, noted Burger, with A4 MFPs matching A3 MFP capabilities with internal finishing, the latest print-controller technology, full device management, internal document finishing, and complete compatibility with Ricoh’s software suite. Of note is that Ricoh is emphasizing that its A4 offerings are more durable than competitive A4 offerings, as the Ricoh A4 units incorporate more metal (versus plastic) components—which is reflected in an overall heavier weight versus competitors, but with a similar smaller footprint. At the same time, the company is promising good—not slim—profit margins for its dealers, or to put it another way, better margins than when selling systems from printer-based manufacturers—and a protected market for toner and accessories.  Pricing for the systems starts at $5,600.

The new A4 systems will complement the company’s current A3 lineup, but will also serve to battle A4 MFPs and printers marketed by printer-based vendors.  “We’re really seeing it as enabling us to attack the single-function printers out there,” noted Burger.

Some of the systems’ more advanced capabilities include incorporation of Ricoh’s Embedded Software architecture for integration with solutions such as Ricoh’s Global Scan and third-party solutions; @Remote (the system automatically notifies dealers when supplies and service are required); HotSpot mobile printing (e-mail jobs and then release them at the control panel for printing), and a strong security suite, including five levels of user authentication, hard-drive encryption and overwrite, etc.

The Aficio MP C400 and MP C300 also add these capabilities that are new for Ricoh:

  • DOSS/hard-drive encryption that is included as standard, not optional.
  • Print from and scan to USB memory drives and cards—while scan to memory drives and cards has been available, printing from drives and cards is new for Ricoh.
  • Direct printing from PictBridge-compatible cameras.
  • Scan to Webmail and to Google Docs accounts.
  • JPEG 2000 compression for scanning.
  • Quota setting, so that administrators can limit the number of copies and prints produced, as well as prints produced in color mode.
  • Control panel with color touch screen can be titled as well as swiveled; it also features thumbnail previews of scanned documents, and provides a color-friendly color scheme for users who are color blind.

Both systems use a black toner bottle rated to yield 8,000 pages, while each color toner container yields 10,000 pages. Ricoh estimates black cost per page at 1.3 to 1.5 cents and color cost per page at 8.5 to 9.0 cents, which is very competitive for this segment. Pricing for the units is as follows:

  • Aficio MP  C300: $5,600.
  • Aficio MP C300SR (adds standard internal document finishing): $6,100.
  • Aficio MP C400: $6,700.
  • Aficio MP C400SR (adds standard internal document finishing): $7,200.

Our Take

While Ricoh may be a little slower rolling out an A4 strategy, we think they took their A4 thought process to a much higher level. The MP C400 and MP C300 aren’t just “me too” A4 color MFPs—Ricoh has made sure that the new A4 MFPs match their A3 counterparts with an A3 feature set, durability, and competitive cost per page, so that they’ll give A4 systems from the printer-based companies a real run for their money. As we noted in a Head2Head Comparison Report on Entry-Level B/W MFPs that compared systems from Konica Minolta, Oki Data, Ricoh and Xerox: “Among entry-level B/W network MFPs…, Ricoh’s Aficio SP 3400SF had the lowest CPP of this group—2.08¢—which is also among the lowest among any device sold through the retail channel. This translated into the lowest TCO across the board at any monthly volume. We also appreciated that Ricoh did not skimp on business-quality features (Web Image Monitor for network management, scan to e-mail servers and network folders, etc). Other useful features that we noted include: the ability to print from and scan to USB memory devices; Universal, PCL 6 and PostScript 3 print drivers; an all-in-one print cartridge for easy maintenance; and the ability to add a second 250-sheet media drawer to facilitate higher print volumes. All things considered, the Ricoh Aficio SP3400SF’s very low CPP and TCO, plus the aforementioned features and benefits, makes it our Best In Class selection in this group for small offices and businesses, home offices, and enterprise use in satellite offices.” 

See here for more on the Aficio MP C400 and C300.

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