Contrary to what you might expect from its name, the OKI MB491+LP ($549 direct), a monochrome multifunction printer (MFP), isn’t simply the OKI MB491 with a little something extra tacked on. It actually claims a faster speed, at 47 pages per minute (ppm). On the other hand, it does indeed tack on something as well, replacing the MB491′s letter-size flatbed with a legal-size version. The larger flatbed makes it the preferred choice for offices that scan and copy a lot of legal-size pages.
As with the OKI MB491 and the Brother MFC-8950DW that’s Editors’ Choice in this category, the MB491+LP is aimed primarily at micro and small offices with relatively heavy-duty print needs. As with the MFC-8950DW, it focuses a little more heavily on the copying and scanning features than most small office MFPs.
Core features include printing and faxing from, as well as scanning to a PC, including over a network; working as a standalone copier and fax machine; and being able to scan to and print from a USB memory key. Very much worth mention is that the front-panel menus are nicely designed, making it easy to change settings and give commands.
In addition to the legal-size flatbed, the printer offers a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF), which also can handle legal-size pages. Even better, the ADF duplexes too, by scanning one side of the page, turning it over, and scanning the other. For copying, the combination of the duplexing ADF and duplex printing lets you copy either single or double-sided originals to your choice of single or double-sided copies. And note that unlike some printers with duplexing ADFs, the MB491+LP can scan in duplex for faxing as well as for scanning and copying.
Paper handling for printing is also a strong point. In addition to the built-duplexer, the printer offers enough input capacity for most small offices, with a 250-sheet drawer and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray as standard. If you need more, you can also add a 530-sheet optional tray ($183.99 direct), for a maximum 880-sheet capacity.
One other feature worth mention is private printing, which will let you send sensitive print jobs to the printer and tell it to hold them in memory, rather than print them immediately, until you enter a PIN code at the front panel.
Setup and Speed
As is typical for the category, the MB491+LP is a little too big to comfortably share a desk with, at 17.9 by 19.1 by 16.7 inches (HWD), but small enough so you should be able to find room for it in most small offices. Setup is absolutely standard. For my tests, I connected it to a wired network and installed the PCL driver on a Windows Vista system.
The rated 47 ppm speed should be close to what you’ll see if you print text documents with little formatting. On our business applications suite, however, I timed the printer (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at an effective 9.7 ppm. That makes the MB491+LP essentially tied with the Editors’ Choice OKI MB471 at 9.5 ppm and a touch slower than, but very much in the same ballpark as, both the MB491 at 10.5 ppm and the Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-8950DW at 10.6 ppm. More generally, the speed for all of these printers is best described as acceptable, but unimpressive for their engine ratings.
Output quality is a moderate plus for the MB491+LP, with quality scores for each type of output—text, graphics, and photos—at the high end of the range where the vast majority of monochrome MFPs fall.
Text in my tests was easily good enough for any business need short of high-quality desktop publishing. Graphics output, similarly, was also good enough for any internal business need, including PowerPoint handouts for most situations. Depending on how critical an eye you have, however, you may or may not consider the graphics quality good enough to hand out when you need to convey a sense of professionalism.
Photo quality was easily suitable for printing photos in client newsletters and more than good enough to print Web pages with recognizable photos. Also very much worth mention, given the MB491+LP’s emphasis on copying features, is that it did a far better job in my copy tests with photos than most mono MFPs, retaining surprisingly good photo quality in the copies.
If you don’t need a legal-size flatbed, there’s little reason to consider the OKI MB491+LP, and you should be looking at printers without one, like the OKI MB471, instead. If you need the larger flatbed, on the other hand, note that the MB491+LP doesn’t offer quite as much as the Brother MFC-8950DW. In particular, it lacks the Brother MFC-8950DW’s Wi-Fi, its support for various mobile printing apps, and its well-designed touch-screen controls, all of which keep the Brother printer firmly in place as Editors’ Choice. On the other hand, the Brother printer costs more. If you don’t need its extras, the OKI MB491+LP may well be the better fit.
More Multi-function Printer Reviews:
|Standalone Copier and Fax||Copier, Fax|
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||47 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||Monochrome|
|Technology (for laser category only)||LED|
|Connection Type||USB, Ethernet|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc