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The idea of having all the main paper handling functions in one machine is a very convenient one. One device which can handle printing, copying, scanning and faxing is ideal for a small business or a workgroup within a larger organisation. In the case of OKI's new B4540 MFP, SMS is added to the mix, as well as optional duplexing.
The B4540 MFP is an odd shape. There's very little effort to integrate the two key components of the product, a flatbed scanner and a mono LED printer, into a homogenous unit. The scanner stands on two tall pillars which lift it well above the LED engine squatting between them. While you need access to the top of the LED unit to take off the printed pages, there’s still quite a bit of unused space.
Paper feeds from a 250-sheet tray which projects from the bottom of the front panel, with the option of a secondary, 500-sheet tray clipping in underneath, if you need it. The front panel of the LED engine folds forward to reveal a two-piece toner and drum unit, which is very simple to replace.
The control panel of the B4540 MFP is unusual in a number of respects. It starts off conventionally enough, with a two-line, 16-character status display and a ring of controls to navigate through its menu system. Stop and Go buttons skirt either side of this ring and to the right of these is a regular numeric pad for entering fax numbers.
On the left are pairs of buttons headed print, copy, scan, com and fax, with extra functions available in almost all categories. For example, the print button lets you cancel an existing print job and print a list of the device’s many numbered functions. The com button enables you to send an SMS text message to any phone or device that can receive one and to help with this, there's a complete miniature QWERTY keypad at the right-hand end of the control panel.
It’s not much fun only having a user guide on CD, particularly when the set-up sheet is a single A3 page with very little help on the physical installation of the device. Installation mainly involves fitting trays, which isn’t difficult, but would be easier with printed instructions.
The lack of detail in the documentation extends to the electronic user guide, where quite major functions, like scanning to a PC, are covered in just one short paragraph. OKI claims the device can scan both sides of the paper in one job – but we couldn’t find out how to do it from any of the documentation.
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