OKI C810n - compact A3 printer

Can LED technology give this compact A3 colour printer the edge over its laser rivals?

OKI C810n

IT Pro Verdict

This is a very compact A3 colour printer, offering good quality business print quickly, at a variety of sizes. It's cheap to run, in terms of consumables and offers good expandability. The LED technology is simpler and less bulky than conventional laser printing and results are just as good.

You don't have to be a graphic artist to have a use for a printer that can handle paper larger than A4. Proofing of all kinds of documents is certainly one application, but you can also do short runs of newsletters, marketing materials and internal reports which require more information than can comfortably be squeezed onto an A4 page. OKI's C810n is a networkable, A3 colour LED printer, which can handle paper from A6 up to A3 and banner paper up to 1.3m long.

You'd expect an A3 printer to be big enough to make its presence felt, but the C810n is surprisingly modest. This is mainly down to the technology, unique to OKI in the business sphere, which uses strips of high precision LEDs to illuminate the photoconductor drums, rather than playing laser beams across them. This uses far fewer moving parts and is a lot less bulky to implement.

The online layout of the photoconductor drums means the printer is quite deep but keeps it width and height down. It could sit on a desktop, but would probably be easier to fit on the optional, wheeled cabinet available from OKI.

The machine itself has a rounded, slightly dated look, but is conventional in design with a main paper tray at the bottom, capable of taking up to 300 sheets of paper and a fold down, multipurpose tray above that, which can take a further 100 sheets. Printed pages finish up on the top surface of the machine, as normal. A duplex unit is an optional extra, or can be bought built-in, in the C810dn variant. One or two extra 550-sheet paper trays are also options.

The control panel consists of a backlit, two line by 16-character LCD display and a series of buttons for navigation and to start and stop print jobs. At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet.

Software supplied with the printer includes colour correction applets, complete with a colour swatch utility and a useful web print utility for printing the whole of web pages. It's easy to install, as is the network setup.

Print speed claims, as always, are exaggerated, but our tests produced closer results than from many printers we've tested recently. OKI claims 32ppm for black and 30ppm for colour and, printing a 20 page text document, we achieved 24.5ppm, so over three quarters of the claimed speed. Colour print speed, even printing multiple copies of a single page image so with reduced rasterising time was quite a bit slower. A five-page test took 22 seconds, a speed of 13.6ppm.