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OKI offers a range of mid-priced colour LED printers in its 5000 series, with the C5650n a Windows or Mac host-based printer at the entry-level end and the C5950n, the subject of this review, at the top. They all look physically the same, so what you get for your extra money?
That common appearance is functional enough, but manages to look rather datedly curved. The printer uses an in-line print engine with high-intensity LED strips in place of a laser beam. This reduces the complexity of the machine, while offering very similar print quality to most conventional lasers.
The printer has a commendably neat frontage, but is quite deep and shows a number of bulges, covering fans and other parts of its anatomy. A 300-sheet paper tray slides out at the front bottom, with a multi-purpose tray folding down and out above that. The tray can take up to 100 further sheets of special media or envelopes.
OKI's control panel, which offers a backlit LCD panel with two lines of 16 characters, also looks a little antiquated, but it's six, shaped buttons are easy to use to control the printer's menus. There's no sign of recent innovations such as a walk-up flash drive port, though the printer can handle direct PDF printing, if you send a file to it from a PC or across a network.
At the back are sockets for USB, Ethernet networking and a legacy parallel connection.
Set up could be easier. The supplied pack of CDs, which includes separate discs for a user guide, network utilities and a template manager - so you can download print templates direct to the printer - claims to cover the full range of 5000 series printers.
When run, though, the software only offers drivers for the C5750 and C5850. The installation routine then says the Windows Install Printer dialog will pop up, but neglects to say whether you should proceed with it or cancel it. In the end, we downloaded a C5950n-specific driver from the OKI site and installed it via the Windows new printer Wizard. OKI provides driver emulations for both PCL and PostScript languages.
There's also a set of colour swatches, which are useful when calibrating the printer to produce good colour. They're just a set of colour thumbnails, though; there's no calibration utility included.
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