Large workgroups looking for high-speed colour printing are spoilt for choice, but Oki’s latest C710 LED printers aim to rock the boat by delivering fast print speeds and top quality in a compact, space-saving chassis. The base C710n on review only weighs a modest 27kg, but it’s no lightweight in the performance stakes, claiming print speeds of 30ppm for colour and 32ppm for mono.
Our real-world tests confirmed Oki’s claims, with the printer dashing through a 32-page Word document in precisely one minute at the standard 600dpi driver setting. The C710n rose to the colour challenge as well, dispatching our 24-page DTP-style document with lashings of colour charts, graphics and photos in 48 seconds for a tidy 30ppm average. Move up to the higher resolutions and colour speed does drop slightly, since the same document printed at 1200dpi and the interpolated 2400dpi mode averaged 25ppm. Operational noise levels aren’t the lowest we’ve heard, as the printer clunks loudly each time it picks up a fresh page from the lower tray.
A smart feature that Oki adopted many years ago is the use of separate print processes, where the toner cartridges each have their own photo-conductive drum and are placed in-line down the paper path. In the printer lid are four LED arrays allowing images to be laid down in a single pass. This approach makes the C710n versatile, as using the rear paper slot and multipurpose tray at the front creates a flat paper path, allowing the printer to handle 220gsm stationery and banners up to 1.2m long.
A drawback is the number of consumables: each colour has an image drum and toner cartridge. Even allowing for these the C710n delivers low running costs, with a mono page costing 2.7c while a colour page will set you back a very reasonable five cents. The toner and drum cartridges are also easy to access, as the entire lid swings up.
Oki’s LED printers usually deliver good output quality, but we found the C710n to be a little variable. Text was pin-sharp across a range of font sizes, and detail in mono photos and graphics was good. For colour photographs, the C710n delivers a vibrancy characteristic of this printing process, but we found darker areas in some pictures too murky and suffering from a lack of detail. In addition, large areas of a single colour such as skies had a noticeable cross-hatching effect.
The print server’s web interface provides a complete status display of all consumables and full access to all functions. The C710n will suit workgroups with a demand for high-volume document and colour report printing, since it delivers a good turn of speed and comparatively low printing costs. It’s good value as well, but not so hot on printing colour photographs.
This Review appeared in the February, 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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