If there were a style award dinner for colour office printers, OKI wouldn’t need to prepare a speech. It somehow manages to make its printers look out of date, even when they’re brand new. The C3450n is better than some, clothed in grey and cream and with a minimalist control panel. There are just three indicators and two push-buttons along its top front edge, but no LCD display.
Lift the top panel and you can see the in-line configuration of the LED print engine. OKI is alone amongst page printer manufacturers in using strips of high-intensity LED light instead of a laser beam to define the images on its print drums. The technique works just as well and is mechanically a lot simpler. The engine has four separate drums, toner cartridges and LED strips, one for each colour.
Also in there is a transfer belt and a fuser unit, so there are plenty of consumables to maintain. The C3450n comes as standard with both USB and Ethernet connections, so you can set it up as a network printer or servicing a local PC. The software includes a driver, network controller and a colour swatch utility, which prints thumbnails of a wide variety of colours to help with calibration. Shame the calibration software isn’t included, too.
The speeds OKI claims for the printer are impressive, with 20ppm for black and 16ppm for colour. Under test, though, we saw 13ppm for black and 8.5ppm per colour; only around 60 percent of the claimed figures. Even so, these are respectable figures for a colour printer costing only a little over £200.
The assessment of print quality depends very much on how you intend to use the C3450n. For black text and colour business graphics, print is sharp, vivid and attention-grabbing. In many ways it’s all you could want from a colour business printer. If your pages include much photographic content, however, you may find the colour intensity rather unnatural. Dark colours also tend to merge to black, though you should be able to compensate for this.
Toner comes in 1,500- or 2,500-page cartridges, the drum units should last for 15,000 pages and the transfer belt and fuser are rated at 50,000 pages. Crunching all the numbers gives cost per page figures of just under 3p for black and 10.5p for colour. These are on the pricey side, compared with printers in the same price bracket.
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