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Oki B432dn review: A masterful mono laser

There are plenty of reasons to feel affection for this powerful printer

Editor's Choice
A photograph of the Oki B432dn
Price
£200 exc VAT
  • Lightning-fast printing
  • Rock-bottom running costs
  • Excellent output quality
  • Unappealing design
  • Higher than average power consumption

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to love a mono laser printer. Big, noisy and only good for one thing, nobody spares a thought for them until they’re out of toner or tangled in a paper jam. But if the best thing they can hope for is being good enough to forget about, Oki’s B432dn is in with a shout. It’s a compact workgroup printer, equipped with a Gigabit Ethernet port and capable of a claimed 40ppm.

Usually, we end up writing the longest notes for the printers that give us the most trouble. It’s telling, then, that our notes for setting up and using the B432dn ran to just 82 words. It’s child’s play to unpack this printer, remove a few bits of packing material, plug in a network cable and install its Windows drivers. After that, it worked faultlessly throughout our tests.

In use, the B432dn is as rapid as its 40ppm engine speed suggests. Even so, it’s not gratingly loud, with no big clunks or strong vibrations that would make it especially difficult to share desk space with. Its fans cut out quickly at the end of each print job, too, although one continues at reduced speed for a little longer. You’ll want to flip up the extra stop at the end of the output tray, however; otherwise, printed pages begin to spill over and get out of sequence.

As a serious mono laser, the B432dn may seem out of place in most home offices, but if you do a lot of printing it could be ideal. For a start, it’s fast, dispatching our 25-page text test at a rate of 31.3ppm, which includes the time taken to prepare and spool the job. We challenge the fastest printers with an additional, 50-page text job. The B432dn tossed it out at 35.3ppm, again including job preparation time.

Many printers struggle with the extra processing involved in printing our complex graphical test, but not the B432dn. It produced 24 pages of magazine articles, presentation slides and web pages at 30.6ppm. It even duplex printed ten pages of graphics on five sheets of paper in just 43 seconds, a rate of 14 images per minute (ipm).

A photograph of the Oki B432dn

All this would be for nought if the B432dn couldn’t deliver decent print quality, but it’s among the better mono lasers we’ve tested. Graphics were crisp and detailed, without obvious dots where halftones are used, although shade progressions in our slides weren’t perfect. Photos showed up more obvious halftoning, but they were free of banding and other common mono laser quirks.

This printer produced some of the sharpest, smoothest black text we’ve seen. Even under magnification, text down to 5pt was crisp and free of jaggedness. To the naked eye, formal letters and other prints looked simply perfect.

This is often the point in a review where we have to drop a print costs bombshell, but again the B432dn manages to swerve it. The printer shows up with a starter toner good for 2,000 pages, while its drum is rated for 25,000. In smaller offices there’s a fair chance you might never need to replace that drum. Opt for the 12,000-page ultra-high capacity toner and that gives you running costs of just 1.2p per page. Factor in drums, and ongoing running costs are still a very reasonable 1.6p per page.

With good quality, fast speeds and low print costs, you might want to hold onto the B432dn for some time. Happily, there’s some scope to enhance it to cope with heavier duties in a growing business. You can add wireless networking for around £40 with Oki’s aftermarket adapter, and if you need a serious paper-handling upgrade, a 530-sheet paper tray can be had for around £120.

This printer isn’t perfect. It looks old-fashioned, bordering on ugly, and if you need to get stuck into more advanced configuration its simple control panel is fiddlier than a good touchscreen. And while we’re nitpicking, we’d also flag up that it consumes 3W in sleep mode – not a lot, but more than the 1W or so that’s more typical these days. Typically for a modern printer it has a “soft” power button, rather than a physical switch, but we measured 1W of consumption even when it was supposedly off.

That’s it, though: that’s the most negative thing we can find to say about this printer. In every other respect it’s great, making it a brilliant choice if you want a strong mono laser.

Oki B432dn specifications

Format

1,200dpi A4 mono laser

Print speed

31.3ppm

Display

Two-line mono LCD

Networking

Ethernet

Connectivity

USB

Print type

Duplex

Tray size

250-sheet cassette

Recommended monthly duty cycle

5,000 pages

Dimensions

387 x 364 x 245mm

Weight

12kg

Warranty

3yr (with registration)

Options (exc VAT)

Wireless networking adapter (£40), 530-sheet input tray (£120) 

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