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OKI C831n review

OKI C831n review

Company

OKI

Price

£1,158

Relatively few colour laser printers can print at up to A3 size, and even fewer of those are moderately priced. The OKI C831n is a welcome addition to the group, providing good speed and low running costs at a price that won’t break the bank, relatively speaking.

As an LED-based printer, the C831n uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in place of lasers as a light source, although LED printers are still considered laser class. The C831n, off-white with grey trim, measures 360 x 449 x 552mm (WxDxH) and weighs 37kg, large enough for it to need a separate table. Its front panel includes a mono LED screen, a 4-way controller, and an alphanumeric keypad.

The C831n’s standard paper capacity is 400 sheets, split between a 300-sheet main tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose feeder. It supports two optional 530-sheet trays, for a maximum paper capacity of 1,560 sheets. It has a duty cycle of up to 75,000 pages per month.

The C831n lacks an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper; one is available as an option, or (better), the OKI C831dn is the same printer as the C831n but with the duplexer added.

The printer offers USB, parallel, and Ethernet connectivity; I tested it on an Ethernet network with its drivers loaded on a PC running Windows Vista.

Output quality

I timed the OKI C831n on the latest version of our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at an effective 7.7 pages per minute (ppm). That’s in line with its rated print speed of up to 35 ppm for both monochrome and colour printing, and about what we’d see if printing solely text pages (our test suite consists of text pages, graphics pages, and pages of mixed content.)

It’s essentially tied with the 7.6 ppm turned in by the Xerox Phaser 7100/N, rated at 30 ppm for monochrome and colour printing. I timed the Dell 7130cdn Colour Printer at 8.1 ppm, while the Xerox Phaser 7500 hit 7.1 ppm.

Text quality was average for a laser-class printer, and good for typical business uses except ones requiring very small fonts.

Graphics quality was average for a colour laser, suitable for general business use including PowerPoint hand-outs, though I might hesitate to hand them to clients I was trying to impress. Dithering (graininess) was a common issue. The printer had trouble printing very thin lines in two figures. One illustration showed mis-registration (a misalignment between different elements of the design).

Photo quality was a bit below par for a colour laser-class printer. A monochrome print showed a tint. Dithering (graininess) was common, and there was some loss of detail in both bright and dark areas. The C711n can print out recognisable photos from files or web pages, but I’d hesitate to use it to print out company newsletters and the like.

Running costs are a strong point with the C831n. The cost per page is 1.8 cents (1.2 pence) per monochrome page and 7.9 cents (5.2 pence) per colour page; the colour figure is particularly good.

Verdict

If you need a laser-class printer for printing out colour at up to A3 size, the OKI C831n should be on your shortlist. It has good speed, a low sticker price, and low running costs, especially for colour printing.

Its colour output quality isn’t up to that of the similarly low-priced Xerox Phaser 7100/N, but it should be enough for many businesses. And its output quality isn’t in the same league as the Xerox Phaser 7500/N, but then again, neither is its price. As a low-cost A3 laser-class printer with low colour running costs, the OKI C831n has much to recommend it.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

OKI C831n

Printer Category

Laser

Direct Printing from Cameras

No

Maximum Standard Paper Size

A3

Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)

35 ppm

Type

Printer Only

Rated Speed at Default Settings (Colour)

35 ppm

Color or Monochrome

1-pass colour

Technology (for laser category only)

LED

Connection Type

USB, Ethernet

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive purchase price
  • Low claimed cost per page
  • Good speed

Cons

  • Sub-par photos
  • No port for USB thumb drive

Company

OKI

Price

£1,158

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