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Oki C843dn review

A space saving A3 colour LED printer priced right for SMEs and delivering good speeds and high quality output

Price
£830
  • Good print quality; Affordable; Compact size
  • No AirPrint support; Lots of consumables

Space-poor SMEs that want a compact A3 colour LED printer will be tempted by Oki's C843dn as it's probably the smallest on the market. It'll also please the budget-conscious amongst them as it's one the cheapest as well.

Build quality isn't compromised either; the C843dn weighs in at 40kg, so it'll need to sit on a very sturdy desk. Paper choices start with a single 300-sheet A3 lower tray and 100-sheet A3 MPT, to which you can add three extra 530-sheet trays and a wheeled base.

Sitting at the top of Oki's C800 family, the C843dn is the only member with a true 1200dpi print engine. It made its mark in our output quality tests by delivering pin-sharp text down to the smallest of font sizes and mono photos with good levels of detail in darker areas.

Colour output is equally good and we noticed immediately that the unsightly cross-hatching that afflicts Oki's lower-end LED printers wasn't evident at all. The level of detail in photographs is good with the rich colour saturation making our A3 posters pack a real punch.

The driver's Photo Enhance feature made noticeable differences to our A4 photos and A3 posters by sharpening focus and increasing depth. The only drawback is it mucks around with contrast so some detail in darker areas was lost.

Oki's LED technology is less complicated than lasers and provides a straight paper path through the printer. Opening the rear paper output and front MPT allows the printer to handle heavy 256gsm paper and print banners up to 1,321mm long.

Print speeds are on the money - although for A4 prints, they will only be achieved with the paper placed lengthways across the tray. With the short side towards the paper path we saw A4 print speeds drop to 18ppm.

The integral duplexer also returned A4 speeds of 18ppm and it's quite clever as it reverses the paper inside the printer instead of snatching it back at the last second. When changing paper sizes, remember to set the dial on the paper tray as a mismatch will cause the printer to drop back to the MPT.

There are a lot of consumables, with image drums and toner cartridges for each colour plus a fuser unit and transfer belt. Even so, for a budget-priced A3 printer, running costs are reasonable, with a mono A4 page costing 1.3p and colour one costing 7.4p.

The C843dn can be registered directly with Google Cloud Print using the small LCD display panel, but no other cloud features are supported. AirPrint is also off the menu, so we couldn't access the printer via our iPad or use Oki's iOS Mobile Print app. Although it discovered the printer, it refused to connect to it.

The Windows driver offers good levels of control over the printing process with options for duplexing, creating booklets or posters and PIN securing jobs for walk up and print tasks. Further printing permissions can be enforced by creating users from the web interface and assigning roles to determine whether they can use colour.

The optional 16GB SDHC card increases security further with encryption and secure erase of confidential print jobs. Wireless costs an extra 34 and requires a small 11n card fitted into a slot in the side of the printer.

Oki's C843dn is a compact A3 LED printer that brings in-house colour poster and brochure production within the budgets of small businesses. High running costs make it best suited to moderate print volumes, but it has a good turn of speed and there are no compromises with print quality either.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 274

Verdict

Oki's C843dn is a compact A3 LED printer that brings in-house colour poster and brochure production within the budgets of small businesses. High running costs make it best suited to moderate print volumes, but it has a good turn of speed and there are no compromises with print quality either.

1200 x 1200dpi A3 colour LED printer
512MB RAM (max 768MB)
35/20ppm A4/A3
Gigabit
Duplex
2 x USB 2
300-sheet A3 input tray
100-sheet MPT
Max. rec. monthly duty cycle, 5,000 pages
449 x 552 x 360mm WDH
40kgs
3yrs extended warranty (on registration)

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