Panasonic holds a strong position in the corporate MFP segment; on Yandex.Market, the manufacturer’s assortment includes almost four dozen models. This time a novelty got into our test lab - extremely talented, but compact Panasonic DP-MB545. The device is designed for small and large workgroups and functions as a fax, telephone, printer, scanner, copier and PC-fax. One of the most noteworthy features is the ability to perform both scanning and printing of documents in A3 format. The MFP first scans one part of the document, then the second and “glues” the final image, which is then sent for printing. According to Panasonic, the need to work with the A3 format is not common in offices, but the presence of such a function is still necessary for a full-fledged corporate MFP. In the case of Panasonic DP-MB545, it turns out to be surprisingly small-sized development for its functions.
Top view - this is how Panasonic compares the size of its model against the backdrop of a corporate MFP for A3 format
The novelty was presented to the Russian public in May 2016 as part of the presentation of the DP-MB500 series with color scanning and monochrome imprint of documents. There is also a younger version of the Panasonic DP-MB536 with a lower print speed of 36 pages per minute versus 45 ppm. It is noteworthy how advanced the model that came to our test on the part of wireless mobile technologies. The user can send a print job from a smartphone or tablet, and for quick connection bypassing the router, the Wi-Fi Direct option is supported.
Packaging and equipment
In our case, a special “not for sale sample” arrived for testing, as evidenced by the inscription on the back of the MFP. The device was brought in ordinary packaging made of thick cardboard, inside the model was perfectly protected by foam parts from damage during transportation. The equipment of the device turned out to be rather modest - a driver disk, instructions for working with a toner and a cartridge, as well as a small set of printing paper. Apparently, a voluminous 200-page manual in Russian should also be attached to versions of MFPs for sale. However, it can already be found in the public domain on the Panasonic website . Also note that inside the MFP immediately installed a drum module cleaner.
Main technical specifications of Panasonic DP-MB545
Network Interface: LAN (10/1000 Base-T)
Wireless Network: Wi-Fi IEEE802.11b / g / n
USB 2.0 interface: yes
Microsoft Windows Compatibility: XP / Vista / 7/8/10 / Server®2008 / Server®2012
Compatible with Mac OS, Linux: yes
Total memory, Mb: 1024
Maximum monthly load (pages): 150 000
33.6 kbps modem: yes
Memory Transmission: Yes
Non-volatile memory: is
Out of paper reception (number of pages): 400
Newsletter (number of recipients): 5x20
64 halftone levels: yes
Delayed transfer: yes
Error Correction Mode (ECM): yes
Receive / send messages to PC: yes
Document Size (A4, Letter): yes
Document Size (A3): yes
Laser printing: yes
Resolution at the press (dots per inch): 1200х1200
Single-sided printing speed (ppm) (A4): 45
Duplex Print Speed (ppm) (A4): 45
Print Speed (ppm) (A3): 24
Sheets per tray: 550
Color Scanning: yes
Scanner resolution (dots per inch), up to: 19200x19200 (interpolated)
Two-sided automatic document feeder (sheets): 75
Scan to PC (PDF, TIFF, JPEG, BMP): yes
Copy resolution (dots per inch): 1200х1200
Copy Speed (ppm): 45
Scaling in 1% steps: yes
Multiple copies per page: yes
Multicopy (from 1 to 99 copies): yes
Caller ID: AOH, Caller ID
Speed dial (number of rooms): 300
Electronic volume control: yes
Appearance and design
Panasonic DP-MB545 is made in a classic combination of colors, the main part of the body is painted white and forms a rim at the top around the black area with a control panel and a document tray. This option looks very attractive and clearly more interesting than monophonic solutions.
The quality of the model is high - durable, matte and non-marking plastic, the absence of backlashes is unambiguously written in the pluses of the model. Housing parts are fitted tightly; elements such as retractable trays do not creak or stagger. In this matter, we put the Panasonic DP-MB545 unambiguous five.
The top cover flips back without undue effort and holds firmly in the open position with clips.
The cover itself contains an automatic document feeder for scanning or copying, as well as guides with a variable width.
We’ll talk more about the control panel in the meantime, but for now note that it combines a touch screen and physical buttons. The hybrid came out very successful and convenient - to admit, the MFPs comparable to Panasonic DP-MB545 do not offer the comfort of working with MFPs with just keys.
The presence of a touch screen also significantly affects the acceleration of user interaction with the device. Right under the control panel in the center is a USB connector for connecting flash drives and direct printing of documents from them. Empirically, we found that with equal success the model recognizes microSD and SD cards connected through a card reader. It is worth remembering the limitations - only drives with the FAT12 / 16/32 file system are supported, there is no compatibility with media with several partitions, encrypted drives and those with NTFS.
An output tray is located under the USB connector, below is a multi-purpose tray (100 pages, including for A3 paper), and a standard input tray is located at the very base of the device.
As befits a competent corporate MFP, the device supports modular expansion due to additional trays (an accessory is called DA-FAP109), each with a capacity of up to 550 sheets. A maximum of two modules can be added to the standard design, so that the total number of sheets increases to 1,750.
The main connectors of the MFP are located vertically in the back right and right, from top to bottom it is a USB port for a computer, an Ethernet network connector, an additional telephone line cord jack, a main telephone jack and one for a network cord.
Putting the Panasonic DP-MB545 on alert takes just a couple of minutes. First, open the back cover of the MFP and remove the protective film, after which we turn to the front panel with the multi-purpose tray, open it and remove the remaining protective parts. It remains only to remove the drum and also clean it from the protection elements.
Panasonic DP-MB545 supports work in the environment of Mac OS X and Windows from XP to the most current “top ten”. To install the necessary drivers and the Panasonic Multi-Function Station control center, insert the disk into the drive and select and act depending on how the printer is connected. In the simplest version, we use a wired direct USB connection. Or we connect the MFP to a wireless network - of course, this will most likely happen if the router supports the WPS function. In this case, it is enough to press the corresponding button first on the router, and then on the Panasonic DP-MB545 panel.
For the abundance of control methods, we again set five out of five points - Panasonic DP-MB545 implements almost all possible ways to “tap through” the MFP and start printing or scanning. In an office environment, the Panasonic Multi-Function Station installed on the computer is most likely to be most in demand.
The tested MFP especially attracted us with a variety of remote control tools. First of all, this is Mobile Print, a proprietary application from Panasonic. The program is available for free on Google Play and the App Store, and allows you to print contacts, calendar, web page, photo album images. And even start the camera and take a picture for printing.
In addition, Mobile Print is also responsible for the direct connection between the mobile device and the MFP via Wi-Fi Direct. The application is multidisciplinary and allows you to connect two or more printers, which can be useful in large organizations. Note that the Wi-Fi Direct option is only supported for Android devices.
Another option for sending documents to print from a mobile phone is to connect the MFP to Wi-Fi and register with the Google Cloud Print service. Once you still have to turn to the computer, since the registration process is possible only through the Multi-Function Station program.
However, users of Apple devices did not remain deprived - for them there is an analogue of Wi-Fi Direct represented by AirPrint, this function directly starts printing from devices based on iOS 4.2 and higher and desktops / laptops with OS X 10.7 and older.
The color touch screen is a special chic of the MFP, especially since it is supported by swipe - with a sliding touch you can scroll through the menu items. Viewing angles are wide, although for this type of device this is not the most important indicator. The sensitivity of the sensor layer is high, it is not necessary to repeat commands several times. Or even more so, in the end, switch to touch with a fingernail or stylus, as it happens in archaic resistive screens. At the same time, the control is not completely touch-sensitive, functions like returning to the previous dialog are performed by hardware buttons.
Managing the model is intuitive, performing basic operations of scanning, interacting with fax or printing clearly does not require access to the manual. On the display at the top there is an information panel with data on the Wi-Fi signal, toner level, status of the USB media, the date and time are displayed at the right edge.
We especially note a feature called "My Function", which allows you to program including complex tasks. The total number of tasks (up to ten units) is distributed between copy mode and scan mode.
The settings turned out to be extremely detailed, up to setting the brightness and contrast (for scanning) or page layout and zoom ratio (for copying).
The model has excellent print speed indicators, as we have already indicated, 45 pages per minute, the first sheet comes out in five seconds. What really pleased us was that the speed does not change regardless of whether simplex or duplex mode is selected. This is the merit of Panasonic proprietary technology, when in parallel with the rotation of the first sheet the first page of the next is printed. According to Panasonic, competitors' lack of such an approach leads to a decrease in speed by 1/2 - 4/5 of that for single-sided printing. The resolution of the printed output is high and amounts to 1200x1200 dpi; text on the printed test pages clearly shows up to the fourth size. The monochrome MFP during scanning is clearly not aimed at the highest quality transmission of gradients of the color picture, however, the Panasonic DP-MB545 does a pretty good job of this.
Scanning is performed at a resolution of 1200x1200 dpi, as in the case of printing, duplex and simplex modes are available. If you need to send the received image to a computer or e-mail, it is possible to create files in PDF, TIFF, JPEG and BMP formats. File password setting is available; select “PDF Password” in scan mode. The speed is the same - a wonderful 45 pages per minute, our time measurements confirmed the indicator declared by the manufacturer.
The recommended monthly resource is 150 thousand pages, that is, almost 7,000 pages per working day. Agree, more than a solid supply, even for a large company with a large workflow.
As for the resource of the toner cartridge, for clarity, we present the table below, according to which the manufacturer himself proposes to estimate the approximate number of prints.
Resource drum, to put it mildly, high and is 100 thousand pages. For comparison, among competitors this indicator usually rests at 70-80 thousand pages. According to the company, a separate optical unit and a toner cartridge made it possible to achieve one of the lowest in its class indicators of the cost of one printed sheet. The toner cartridge for the model costs about 6,340 rubles per 25,000 pages, so we get something about 30 cents per page.
Panasonic is especially proud of its proprietary "environmental" mode. In essence, this is just the inclusion of various settings to reduce power consumption (switch to power saving mode after one minute) and reduce printing (by default, duplex mode is set). Nevertheless, the desired effect will obviously be achieved, and the economical owners of MFPs are satisfied.
Panasonic turned out to be a model corporate MFP that fully complies with the current requirements of medium and large organizations with a large volume of daily printing. With the small size of the MFPs, we can scan and print pages in A3 format, control from smartphones and tablets is supported, and at high print speeds we also get an extremely low cost per page.
The touch screen only adds advantages, along with the ability to assign your own presets for scanning and copying, the time spent on operations is reduced by several times. The only thing to complain about is the lack of support for cloud services such as Dropbox or Evernote, but by and large this is a very specific feature, obviously not from the category of “must have”. The price of the Panasonic DP-MB545 is 90 430 rubles.