How much would you expect to pay for a laser-based multifunction printer? Most come in at £150-£200, but there are a few undercutting that starting point. OKI's MB260 costs just over £110 at Internet prices and yet still offers some interesting extra features you wouldn't expect in an entry-level device.
The MB260 is designed simply, but with a certain austere grace, and has its scanner section lifted quite high above the mono laser engine which forms the base of the machine. Even so, the paper stop is quite awkward to flip up and is needed to keep A4 pages under control. The 600ppi flatbed scanner has a 36-bit colour depth and in front of this is the control panel, complete with LCD display and paper-clip tray.
There are a couple of interesting features on the control panel. For a start, it incorporates a number pad, even though there are no fax facilities on the machine. The number pad is used for both menu option entry - just about every option has a shorthand code number - and for security.
You can lock the whole machine, or just its USB drive reader, so access is only available via keycode, something very rarely available in a machine at this level. It could be useful in preventing a mass of copies being run off by your children or a wasteful co-worker.
The LCD display has two lines of 16 characters, but also a third line of purpose-designed icons for parameters such as print quality. It's useful to have these custom-made extras and another interesting, though perhaps frivolous, feature is the ability to print out Sudoku grids. There are 400 available, 100 in each of four difficulty levels, and thoughtfully, OKI has also incorporated the solutions.
Below the controls is a fairly standard mono laser engine, with a main tray which can take up to 200 sheets of 80gsm paper, so the 250 sheet capacity quoted on the spec sheet must be for a thinner grade. The front panel USB socket is complemented by the main USB connection at the rear and there's no network or wireless provision, though the manual details wireless setup with a third-party adapter.