OKI is the only ‘laser' printer maker which doesn't let a laser beam near any of its photoconducting drums. Instead it uses a bar of high-intensity LEDs to alter the charge on the drum and define the printed image. This is a much simpler and less bulky system than the lights and mirrors of a laser engine and OKI has at last taken advantage of this in the design of its new C3450n.
Although the company has never had much of an eye for industrial design, the C3450n has a slightly more up-to-date look than earlier colour lasers in its range. Decked out in grey and cream, it's one of the smallest colour ‘laser' printers we've seen. It's designed as an in-line device, with four drum and toner cartridges and four LED strips, ranged from front to back under the top cover.
Paper feeds from a single 250-sheet tray at the base, ending up on the printer's top surface. Because of the deep design of the machine there's plenty of room for A4 pages along its top. There's a single-sheet, multi-purpose tray for special media and envelopes, which folds down from the front.
Controls and indicators are minimal, with three colour LEDs for power/data, paper jam and assorted errors, and two buttons to turn the machine on and off line and to cancel a current job.
There are sockets for both USB 2 and Ethernet networking at the back of the machine, as both are standard on this model.
Flip up the top cover, which holds the four LED strips and you have quick and easy access to the four combined drum and toner cartridges, with a fuser unit slotting in behind. Below the four drums is a transfer belt and all six items are consumables, so there's quite a bit to install. Initial setup requires you to remove each drum and pull off a film cover, as well as removing a spacer from the fuser unit.
There's not much in the way of supporting software with the C3450n, just a driver and a status monitor, but there's a colour swatch utility, which can print a range of shades so you can compare printed output with that on your screen and adjust your screen accordingly. The software doesn't take care of this, though, simply providing the swatches you'll need for the comparison.