- Fast, high-capacity colour printing;
- built-in duplex unit.
- Bulky and relatively expensive.
The C9200dn shows that OKI subscribes to the 'bigger is better' school of printer design. This A3 colour LED printer features duplex printing, a large memory complement and has a reasonable turn of speed. LED technology is inherently faster than laser because the former's greater compactness allows four separate processing units -- one for each CMYK colour -- to output a colour page in a single pass. Even so, the OKI C9200dn is huge at 66.6cm by 59cm by 46.3cm, and at 72kg requires at least two people to lift or manoeuvre it.
Print speed ratings for the C9200dn include A3 colour at 11ppm, A4 colour at 21ppm, A3 mono at 14ppm and A4 mono at 26ppm. The LED engine can also handle oversized A3 paper for full-bleed A3 proofs. Our review model had a single standard paper tray holding 550 sheets, plus a multifunction tray holding 100 sheets. You can add up to two extra paper trays to accommodate different paper sizes or add extra capacity: a 550-sheet tray costs £299 (ex. VAT) while the high-capacity 1,650-sheet tray will set you back £829 (ex. VAT). The use of LED technology combined with a straight paper path also allows printing on paper weights up to 200gsm.
The C9200dn's motherboard houses a 400MHz PowerPC processor, which in our review model was supported by 192MB of RAM. If more memory is required, the printer will accommodate up to 1GB of RAM.
Parallel, USB, and 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet connections are available as standard. The network interface supports TCP/IP, NetWare, EtherTalk and NetBEUI printing, so any client type should be able to print. The network interface also includes an embedded Web server to allow browser-based management -- an almost compulsory feature on network printers these days. If you don't have a print server on your network, OKI supplies a Windows utility to provide direct network printing.
PostScript is the main page description language supported by the C9200dn, via a genuine Adobe PostScript 3 interpreter. However, PCL 5c emulation is also provided, and the printer can switch between the two PDLs automatically. The C9200dn has a 5GB hard drive installed, allowing the printer to store large numbers of fonts for both page description languages. OKI supplies a storage management utility to keep tabs on what's installed on the printer's hard drive.
Using the PCL driver, the C9200dn supports many-up printing, allowing you to print several pages of your document on a single piece of paper. This, in conjunction with the duplex feature can be used to produce booklets. However, only the PostScript driver is capable of automatically producing colour separations. The built-in duplexer also allows you to choose between face-down and face-up output.
In use, we found that the first A3 colour page took around 24 seconds to appear from the printer after pressing the Print button, whereas a mono A4 page took around 10 seconds.
The print quality of the C9200dn is dependent on the job type, with graphics rendered better than photos (which is true of most toner-based printers). You can change the colour rendering method used to suit the job type, but this only really alters the colour balance and can't make the colour gradations in an image any finer.
OKI's C9200dn isn't the cheapest, or even necessarily the best-quality colour page printer you can buy. However, it's configured for large-format printing and has the basic speed to carry it off successfully. Add an extra paper bin, and this unit alone could meet an entire organisation's colour printing needs.