Oki C5300n receives PC Pro Recommended Award!
The Oki C5300n has received the Recommended award from PC Pro magazine July 2003
Verdict: A high colour print speed for the price, with a good specification into the bargain. Overall print quality is impressive too, and Oki provides some useful printer management tools.
Most colour lasers in the £1,000 price range offer colour print speeds of around 4ppm - HP's Laserjet 2500n and the magicolor 2300 Desklaser from Minolta-QMS (see issue 99, p134) are cases in point. However, Oki's C5300n delivers three times the speed at 12ppm and yet comes in at well under a grand.
It achieves this high speed by having separate processes for each colour, with the four toner cartridges laid out in-line down with paper path, each with it's own photo conductive drum. Above each unit in the printer's lid are four LED arrays, one for each colour. Data can be sent to all four heads simultaneously so images are laid down in a single pass. However, technology isn't new, as it was first introduced in Lexmark's OptraColor 1200 in 2000 (see issue 70, p140).
The C5300n delivers a good specification for the price as along with a speedy processor and a good helping of memory you get an integral Ethernet print server and support for Windows, NetWare and Macintosh networks. The 400-sheet paper capacity is spread across a 100-sheet multipurpose tray and the rear output slot creates a virtually flat paper path so the C5300n can deal with heavy 203g/m2 stationery and media up to 1.2m in length.
Installation is fairly straightforward for local and networked scenarios, although Oki's documentation is woefully inadequate, as it doesn't go into any detail about the procedures. An LPR utility is provided for outputting directly to the printer over TCP/IP and you get a useful PrintSuperVision tool for the management and monitoring of multiple networked printers. With the network card having an internal HTTP server, the printer itself can be easily managed via a browser where you can view the printer and job status along with the levels of consumables. And consumables there are aplenty, although you'll find printing costs compare well with the competition, particularly HP's Laserjet 2500n.
The C5300n had no difficulties achieving the quoted print speeds, churning out a 24-page basic text document in 73 seconds for a tidy 20ppm average. Our heavily formatted 24-page DTP-style document with lashings of colour charts, graphics and photos also posed no problem and was delivered in just under two minutes. Overall quality was impressive, although we were hard pushed to spot any significant difference between 600 x 600dpi and the enhanced 600 x 1200dpi resolutions. Even so, text was pin sharp at all font sizes. Stepping across colour fades was non-existent but while colours were particularly rich and vivid, the level of saturation may not be to everyone's taste. Furthermore, this led to a slight loss of detail in darker areas of photographic images, which may require some fiddling with the driver settings to rectify.
Compared with the budget-priced magicolor 2300W (see p66), the C5300n delivers better output quality and a superior specification. It's also the fastest printer around at this price point, so if you feel the need for speed with your office colour printing, the C5300n is a natural choice.
PC Pro, July 2003