We had a Konica Minolta colour laser for a couple of years and it was quite ok. I liked the tubes (toner tubes), it felt like we were replacing for less money at the time, but then the scary cost of replacement other consumables (drums and fuser units), nearly did us in. We then gave it to a friend of ours, who hasn't had the money to replace all of the toner tubes that run out.
The main drama we had with our Konica Minolta was the blasted scanner attachment which never did what it was supposed to!. It was a relief to upgrade to the HP.
We now have a HP colour laser, where the drums (that's the bit that picks up the magnetised toner and puts it on the page, then the fuser unit heats it on the page) are in the cartridge, and even though it costs us a little more, the ongoing costs are less.
Now, we are resellers of cartridges and printers, so I know a lot about what is on the market.
Generally speaking, the cheaper the printer, the dearer the toner/ink and vice versa. In this manner, most printers print out to about the same price per page. How to work out the Cost Per Page (CPP). Locate the RRP of the Consumables (all of them, drums, fuser units, toners, maintenance units (which popular in Xeroxs), etc). Divide each RRP by the number of pages you get from each consumable (this is called the yield). Remember that if you print a page of text, that is the standard yield the manuf's work with. If you print a page of colour, you will chew up ink more quickly.
Also generally speaking, the cheaper the printer the smaller the capacity of toner cartridges. ie most printers under $500 only have cartridges that are about 2000 pages. Some are even 1000 pages.
Ones I wouldn't recommend? Some of the Brother Colour lasers are not highly regarded by my printer repairer. He really likes the HP and the OKI printers, but the OKIs are a high buy in price, but beautiful quality and low maintenance issues.
I like HP becuase it is a known brand an deasily repaired when broken. I like Dell too - the lower end $400 one need an additional drum, but the next model up (3110) doesn't - but that may well be out of your range. The Dell's are good prices too.
What to do? Find two models you really like and email your friendly cartridge supplier, and ask them which one is better value. See if they can supply it at a bargain price (and on credit terms, to give you a month to pay for it). Talk also to a printer repairer about them, they will tell you what is a bucket of dung, and what is good.
I am an ebay extraordnaire, but I would be very picky at what printer I would buy there - I would want to see it working first.
Check out the link below too. After today, there will be another edition of the newsletter with more information on buying a colour laser printer.