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Customer Review

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good now it is sorted out, 4 Jan. 2013
By 
Oki C531dn review

Having previously had two simplex (single sided printing) USB2 Oki C3100 LED "laser" colour printers, one nearly new, over 7 years, I decided it was time to get a duplex (two sided printing) network laser printer. After a lot consideration, particularly about the cost of consumables, in particular for the toner "ink", the primary printer cost, but also speed and lifetime costs, for 10,000 to 15,000 pages, for home office use, I opted for the Oki C351dn, for its high capacity cartridges, 5000 pages for CMY and 7000 pages for K, at 5% coverage, and its PCL capability.

This is a fully office professional printer, but if you use your home office printer a lot, even for domestic use, such as printing for a local activity group, or small business, then this would be worth considering. It is quite a neat compact unit, which is not too heavy to move around. I got mine with £50 cash back (to be claimed within 30 days) and 3 year on-site warranty, but you would need to check what is included in the deal.

I particularly wanted the PCL capability, which includes the HPGL plotter language I use with some older programs developed for graph plotters. If you don't need this, there are others in the range, otherwise with the same capability, such as the C511dn, at a lower price. If you are happy with a lower speed and don't want such hi-capacity toner cartridges, with their better economy, then there are the less expensive printers in the range. Unless you are doing a great deal of printing, it is not really worth going any higher up the range.

You only get a set of starter cartridges with the printer, which I recall are good for about 1000 pages, at 5% coverage, which is a significant cost issue. A CMYK set of four Oki original hi-capacity toner cartridges, is around £400, so don't come cheap, but once installed should give 5000 pages each for CMY colour and 7000 pages for K black, at 5% coverage. Hence for many 2 or 3 of sets of cartridges could last the life of the printer. Obviously photos and graphics get through the toner much faster. There are cheaper Oki original toner cartridges, but with a pro-rata lower capacity. Compatible cartridges are now available, but you have to consider various implications with these, such as warrantee issues, image quality and drum life.

The great advantage of a network printer is that it can be used from "anywhere" in the house with any number of computers, with just one printer. This printer only has USB2 and Ethernet network cable connections. It does not have Wi-Fi connectivity, so it will need a network cable from the router, which may limit where it can be located, unless you add a Wi-Fi adaptor. If your computer and router have Wi-Fi, then you don't need a network cable for your computer, unless working at some distance, such as in study away from the house, which may require a cable or other means to extend the range. Unless you are well versed in computer matters, you will probably need professional help to install this.

Initially for my printer the colour quality was very poor, but on contacting Oki without any quibble they sent out their service man to fix it, without charge, which required the replacement of two LED strips, which then sorted out the problem.

With a "laser" printer you can't really expect quite such good photo quality as the better inkjet printers, but it is very reasonable, is fast with no smudging and prints are less likely to fade. Text and graphics are very sharp and vibrant, even on ordinary "inexpensive" copy paper.

It is not as quick as the specifications suggest, particularly in duplex mode, but that is likely to be so for any similar printer, but in simplex mode it rattles through the printing at a fair rate. Even in duplex mode, once it gets going it is still quite fast.

A slight annoyance is that if printing just a single sided page, you have to tell it so, otherwise it will automatically assume duplex mode, which takes appreciably longer as it first "prints" the blank side, particularly if the printer first has to be "woken up" from its power saving mode. You can set it to default to simplex mode, but if you then want to print a longer document in duplex mode you have to remember to tell it so.

In general I am very pleased with this printer and pleased I bought it, but unless you are doing quite a lot of printing, with a set of high-capacity cartridges it is fairly expensive printer.

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Update Dec 2013

After having now used the printer for over a year, it is still working fine.

I had quite a lot of problems with uneven printing, particularly with the black toner. Called out the OKI engineer, under my 3 year warranty, but didn't really get much help on resolving this.

In the end I realised the toner was binding together in the OKI cartridge and the way to resolve this was to remove the cartridge and give it a good shake. It is best to do this with the cartridge in a large poly bag to catch any minor toner spillage.

Given that a set of genuine high capacity OKI toner cartridges now cost £510, with VAT (from Printer Land), compared to just £276 for the printer, from Amazon, and it now costs less than £100 for a set of 5000 page compatible cartridges , through Amazon (OKI 7000 page black toner alone cost nearly as much), one wonders if after a year, to sort out any teething troubles, it is really worth using the genuine OKI cartridges any more. The genuine ones seem as much trouble, and it is anyway cheaper to replace the printer if necessary. It would be of interest to hear from anyone using compatible cartridges on these printers.

I would mention that the cartridges don't really last as long as one might expect, or as shown at the end of the information menu (press printer OK button 3 times to print this), particularly if you print a lot of images and photos. It costs a lot to replace the cartridges, particularly the OKI ones. However you get a lot more from them than a typical ink-jet printer, as my wife finds with her Cannon MP280 printer, she continues to use, despite its running cost and having the OKI installed, connected and just outside her study.
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Reviewer

Geoff
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Top Reviewer Ranking: 162