Oki C3530 MFP review

Price when reviewed

Oki is making some bold statements about its latest colour multifunction printers, as it claims they can match the performance of similar products that cost twice as much. Not only that, but it reckons they don’t sacrifice on print quality either.

Oki C3530 MFP review

Aimed at small workgroups, the C3530 MFP certainly delivers on performance, as this sub-£600 printer has a quoted speed of 16ppm for colour and 20ppm for mono prints. Our performance tests posed no problems, with it churning out a basic 20-page Word document in 58 seconds. Colour was also dealt with efficiently, our heavy-duty 24-page DTP-style document and its colour photographs, graphics and charts landing in the output bin in 1min 28secs with a 600dpi resolution selected. Moving up to the top interpolated ProQ2400 resolution produced little cause for contemplation, as the same document was delivered in 1min 32secs for a rate of 15.5ppm. Copy operations were markedly slower, with an eight-page colour document taking 1min 7secs from button press to final page for an average of just over 7ppm. Mono copies moved at a brisker pace, with the same document copied in only 44 seconds.

We found print quality for colour generally impressive, with photographs bearing the characteristic vibrancy we’ve seen with most of Oki’s colour LED printers. Levels of detail in darker areas were particularly good, while banding, even in large areas of single colour, was almost non-existent. The scanner is the weakest link for quality: while colour copies were reasonably faithful, mono copies of colour pictures were dreadful. There are a lot of consumables, but overall printing costs for both mono and colour are quite reasonable. Watch out when you first use the printer, as Oki ships 1,000-page starter cartridges and 500 pages worth of this toner is used to charge the drum, so you’ll be reaching for the plastic quicker that you might have expected.

From the printer, you can send colour or mono scans directly to email, to a USB flash drive inserted in the front port or to a local or network PC. For the latter, you’ll need to set up profiles that describe the destination system, login details and target folder and whether the image should be output in PDF, JPEG or TIFF format. USB operations worked fine with a range of flash drives, but note that you can’t print from a USB device. Fax operations are easy enough to use, and you can access a speed dial and group phonebook directly from the printer. A utility is provided for remotely modifying phone and address books, plus profiles and access can be PIN protected. You also have a tool for accessing and modifying the printer’s network settings along with a basic document template manager.

It’s clear the C3530 delivers on Oki’s promises, and we had reason to test its support response as well. The first review sample was DOA, as the scanner unit failed to power up. After we reported the problem, Oki’s support department swapped out the faulty unit within two days. It’s a pity the software bundle isn’t particularly exciting, but that aside, the C3530 MFP does deliver the classy print quality we’ve come to expect from Oki and combines this with a good range of fax, copy and scan functions.

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