Clearly finishing first in the colour laser category, the C5100 is the pinnacle of affordable laser printing. Big and bulky, it doesn’t have a small footprint though, so be prepared to give up some of your workspace for it.
We were simply unable to go past this printer for its unmatched quality and speed whilst still maintaining an incredibly low TCO (total cost of ownership -- see boxout, page 88). With TCO figures over two years of reasonable use coming in well below the other printers on test, the C5100 blew everything else out of the water. A little cheaper for small run printing, the 1,200 page figures were still very impressive, barely more than the initial purchase price, dramatically increasing the value rating. The initial outlay of nearly $2,000 is quite a lot, though, but printers have an ongoing cost with consumables, which is why TCO is so important, and the C5100 scores so highly.
Give the high initial price, the C5100 does come with a top spec: a 200MHz print processor and 32MB of integrated RAM with the option for expansion up to 288MB, which is getting towards corporate specs.
Quality is also excellent, with clear black text, smooth gradients and bright colours in all tests.
The whole top of the unit opens to reveal the toner rolls, which are easily removed and replaced. We were impressed on the whole with the ease of operation and replacement of consumables for the models this month, and the C5100 was no exception. The large input and output trays mean you’ve got plenty of room while doing bulk print runs - the input tray capable of storing an enormous 300 pages, while the output tray will comfortably hold 250 pages of 200gsm paper.
The features seem endless on this model: 10/100 Ethernet with integrated Web server; single pass printing; USB 2.0 connectivity for speedy interfacing and a status LCD with six single-press buttons similar to the B4300.
TCO is the real selling point here. Even though the printer has the highest initial purchase price, we think the massive financial savings on consumables both short and long term is definitely to its advantage. So if you're looking for a solid colour laser printer for a moderate volume of usage, and you need top quality prints, then the OKI C5100 is the printer for you.
This Review appeared in the October, 2003 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine