Oki C5600n review
As a long-term player in the colour-printing market, Oki has made some notable achievements, including being one of the first manufacturers to deliver a 12ppm colour printer for under a grand. The latest C5600n sees colour speed boosted even higher to an impressive 20ppm, and the low price of only £469 makes it look a good candidate for SMBs with heavy printing demands.
Oki has always been able to achieve above-average print speeds for this price point, as it uses completely separate processes for each colour. The four toner cartridges are laid out in line down the paper path and each has its own photo-conductive drum. Above each unit in the printer’s lid are four LED arrays – one for each colour – and data can be sent to all four heads simultaneously so images are laid down in a single pass. All these components are easily accessible for maintenance, as the entire lid is released and flipped back. Another advantage is that using the rear paper slot and multipurpose tray at the front creates a virtually flat paper path, so the printer can deal with heavy 203gsm stationery and banners up to 1.2m in length.
You get a good specification for the price, as the printer has a 200MHz processor and 64MB of memory. The latter can be easily upgraded, since the side panel comes away after releasing one thumbscrew, and a SODIMM socket is ready and waiting behind it. The printer accepts a few optional extras, as you can add a duplex unit for double-sided printing and a second 530-sheet lower tray. Installation for local and network scenarios is handled adeptly by an automated routine. The web management interface is also well designed and provides good access to configuration details and consumable information. And consumables aplenty there are with the C5600n, as you have toner cartridges, drum kits, fusers and transfer belts to replace. However, printing costs pan out very well, with the printer delivering a low price per page for both mono and colour operations.
During testing, we were unable to achieve the quoted mono print speed of 32ppm, as our 32-page basic text document took 1min 20secs to complete for an average of only 24ppm. Even with the toner-saving mode selected, we couldn’t achieve better than 25ppm. Colour printing proved to be much less of a challenge, as the C5600n delivered our heavily formatted 24-page DTP-style document with lashings of colour charts, graphics and photos in 1min 11secs for a tidy 20ppm average. Print quality was particularly impressive, with the C5600n delivering pin-sharp text at all font sizes. We could see no stepping across fades and the printer turned out vivid colours for photographic prints with a very good level of detail evident. We also compared results with an older Oki C5300n and found that its successor delivers far superior results for overall colour quality.
The C5600n is well worth considering for busy departments and workgroups that need good-quality, high-speed colour printing. It also looks particularly good value, but we’d recommend checking out Lexmark’s A-Listed C522n, as this delivers equally good speeds, quality and features, but costs even less.
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