- Fast, good-quality output;
- flexible paper handling;
- duplex printing supported.
- Bulky, heavy and quite noisy.
LED printing isn't new, and nor is the single-pass colour LED printer, both OKI and Lexmark having released previous products in this category. What the new C7200 range delivers is faster throughput -- up to 12 pages per minute (ppm) in colour and 20ppm in monochrome -- and improved image quality, along with an excellent set of features and good network manageability.
As well as arranging its cyan, magenta, yellow and black LED imaging units in line to accommodate single-pass printing, which is inherently faster than the four-pass method used by bulkier colour laser technology, OKI has equipped its controller with a fast processor and plenty of memory. The 400MHz PowerPC 750 is supported by 128MB of RAM in the C7200dn model, and the printer's motherboard has four DIMM slots, allowing the total memory complement to be expanded to 1GB. The motherboard in the C7200dn also accommodates a 5GB hard disk, for forms and macro handling and flexible job handling, and a 10/100Base-TX network interface card that supports a good range of protocols. Also supplied with the C7200dn is a duplex unit for double-sided printing.
The use of separate toner cartridges and developer units in the C7200dn's LED engine helps to keep running costs down. The developer units are rated for 30,000 pages each and cost £120 (ex. VAT) to replace, while the 10,000-page toner cartridges cost £109 (ex. VAT) for each of the colours and £46 (ex. VAT) for the black. At five per cent toner coverage per colour per page, these figures equate to a competitive 5.33 pence per colour page and 0.86p per black-and-white page.
Paper input and output is handled by a 530-page paper tray, a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, a 500-sheet face-down recess at the top and a 100-sheet face-up tray at the rear. If throughput is particularly high, a further two 530-sheet input trays can be added, at a cost of £269 (ex. VAT) each. Paper sizes from A4 down to A6 are supported, in weights from 60 to 200gsm, as well as a range of envelope formats.
OKI's main claim to fame with the C7200dn is its print speed -- 12ppm in colour and 20ppm in mono. We output a 40-page colour business document containing a mixture of text, charts and graphics several times, and returned an impressive average speed of 10.2ppm at the maximum 600 by 1,200dpi resolution. Mono speeds were similarly close to the rating, and print speeds under the supplied PCL 5C and PostScript Level 3 drivers proved similar.
Print quality is good, too -- and certainly an improvement on some previous LED products: text is well-defined and suitably black, while photographic images show no obvious artefacts like banding or moiré patterning. Although there's plenty of scope for adjusting colour balance both in the driver and via the front panel, such procedures shouldn't be necessary for the business documents that will provide this printer's main workload. Network management is handled by an OKI utility called Admin Manager, which will discover and assign network servers, and allow remote configuration and monitoring.
OKI's C7200dn delivers good speed, output quality, paper handling and network connectivity at a price that would have been laughed out of court a few years ago. Even today it's good value for money, and well worth serious consideration by IT managers seeking a general-purpose colour printer for workgroups or small departments.