Canon has been missing in action from the Mac-compatible colour laser market for the last few years, so it's good to see the company back in the game.
This new model, the LaserShot LBP5000, prints at 600x600dpi and has a 250-sheet integral paper tray, complete with manual feeder for the use of envelopes and other non-standard paper stock, and a remaining paper indicator.
Connection is made via a single USB port, but there's no Ethernet supplied as standard. The machine itself sports a very basic design and there's no LCD control panel; it draws attention to any faults with a series of lights running along the printer's front edge.
That said, the Canon is one of the best-designed machines in this Group Test, and if looks are important then it's certainly worth investigating. Its compact build will also appeal to those with limited shelf space.
In testing, the Canon managed an average speed performance. Although warm-up time is minimal, the printer is one of the slowest we've seen recently, outputting a ten-page document at 1min 56secs.
Not a terrible wait, but most of its peers are faster. The quality of the characters is impressive, though, and all but the most pernickety of judges would be happy with the text reproduction. Colour reproduction is good, too, with detail very clear and accuracy top-notch. We'd have preferred the Canon to produce a bit more punch to colours, but the neutral effect is pleasing nonetheless.
If networking or duplex had been built in, then the Canon would certainly have had a good chance of winning a place in our hearts. On results alone, the Canon is an interesting choice. But even at this low price-point, there are others that offer better options for not much more money.