As we’ve noted before, there are a lot of single-function and multifunction, or all-in-one (AIO), monochrome laser printers in the world. Over the past year or so, we’ve looked at several from Brother, Canon, HP, Dell, Oki Data, Samsung, and Xerox, and haven’t come close to reviewing them all. And there are still more models from other manufacturers not listed above, one of them being a long-established maker of laser printers and other office equipment worldwide—Ricoh. Today’s review model, the $455-list Ricoh SP 377SFNwX Black and White Laser Multifunction Printer ($347.00 at Amazon) at Amazon), is the first of a few Ricoh machines that we’ll be reviewing soon.

Paying just under $500 usually gets you a midrange, medium-volume monochrome laser AIO. The 377SFNwX’s price positions it between Brother’s MFC-L5700DW  ($280.25 at Amazon) and Canon’s ImageClass D1550 ($324.00 at Amazon); however, the Ricoh’s 30,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle suggests that it’s less capable by several thousand pages than these and other closely priced monochrome laser AIOs, including the Brother MFC-L6800DW ($593.46 at Amazon) and Canon ImageClass D1520.($249.00 at Amazon) Unless, that is, you evaluate them from a different number, the recommended monthly volume, which in most cases is a much more relevant figure. The Ricoh model’s 5,800-page recommended volume is more than a couple of thousand pages higher than most of the other monochrome AIOs mentioned here.

Despite its lower duty cycle, as you’ll see in the Cost Per Page section later, the 377SFNwX delivers lower running costs than most other midrange monochrome laser AIOs, which, if you’re printing thousands of pages each month, is a very important consideration. Also important is how well the AIO prints. Although during our tests our Ricoh review unit churned out graphics and photos slightly darker than we like, its overall print quality is quite good, especially when printing text.

Ricoh SP 377SFNwX (Left Angled)

As you’ll see in the Design & Features section coming up next, the 377SFNwX is also significantly smaller and lighter than most of the AIOs mentioned here so far. In fact, its size is closer to that of an entry-level model, such as, say, Canon’s $300-list ImageClass MF249dw.($149.00 at Amazon) Even so, it comes with just about every production and convenience feature you can get on a laser AIO in this class, including an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) and a plethora of standard and mobile connectivity methods.

Not as stylish as Canon’s latest round of monochrome lasers, nor as volume-capable and expandable as Brother’s current midrange black-and-white laser AIOs, the Ricoh 377SFNwX nevertheless has its charms, to the extent that if its overall print quality were just a wee bit better, it would have easily walked away with our Editors’ Choice nod. Otherwise, it is an ideal mid-volume workhorse for your small office’s or workgroup’s internal communications, as well as frontline situations, such as the front desks at doctors’ and dentists’ offices, auto repair shops, and anywhere else quick, short text documents are required.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper