Even with the popularity of ink-jet printers in the home and small office, personal laser printers also have a market. Anybody who wants a very precise, densely black print and isn’t fussed about colour output, may well consider that the comparatively low running costs of a laser printer better match their needs.
OKI’s B2200 is a new personal printer which looks particularly compact when you first lift it out of the box. Once you’ve fitted the paper-feed tray at an angle at the back, though, its footprint on the desk is almost doubled. Even so, it’s still a neat, well-designed device, which takes paper from the rear, turns it through 180 degrees and feeds it back out to finish on top of the paper tray’s cover.
OKI’s page printers have no lasers in them and the company refers to them as LED printers. Where a laser printer scans a laser beam over a photosensitive drum to mark out the image of the page, OKI uses a strip of tiny, high-intensity LEDs. This is cheaper and takes up a lot less room than a true laser engine, yet gives very similar speed and cost results.
There are only two control buttons on the printer itself, for power and online switching, and a column of four LEDs to show its status. Most control comes from the software driver, which includes support for up to four pages per sheet and the under-printing of watermarks. OKI also supplies a number of standardised templates for mainstream documents like posters and flyers, but also less obvious ones, like menus and beer mats.
The B2200 is a GDI printer, meaning that it rasterises each page in the PC and passes it down to the printer as a bitmap image, rather than doing the conversion within the printer’s own processor. This keeps the cost of the printer down, but means overall print speed depends on the speed of the PC that is connected to it.
Print speeds from our tests were more than reasonable for this class of printer, with a five-page text print giving just over 10ppm and a text and graphics print being slightly quicker, at 11ppm. A 15 x 10cm (6 x 4-inch) photo took 17 seconds.
Print quality is very good for text, reasonable for business graphics and a bit below par for photo reproduction. There’s some banding and obvious dot patterns at the default 600dpi resolution, though these are reduced in the higher resolution 600 x 1,200dpi mode.
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