OKI rates the C3530 MFP at 20ppm printing black and 16ppm in colour but, as usual these speeds are optimistic and presumably quoted for draft print. We saw our five page text document complete in 24 seconds which gives a speed of 12.5ppm, while our colour text and graphics document took 34 seconds, a speed of 8.8ppm.
These speeds assume the printer is awake. If it’s in power-save mode, it takes just under 40 seconds to warm-up before printing starts, so even a single page could take you over three quarters of a minute.
Black text print is delicate and well-formed, but colour output is not good. The colours are very vivid and dense, which might be considered an advantage, except that they bear little relation to on-screen shades. Any kind of subtlety is missing and this applies to both block colours in business graphics and, more especially, in any attempt to reproduce photographic output. Our test landscape picture is full of dense colours and rather than a smooth transition from dark to light there are obvious bands in the sky. Areas of shadow appear black, with no visible detail.
Copying from the glass or ADF in the scanner produces further colour exaggeration, so that oranges become red and cyan becomes dark blue. The colour correction applet supplied with the printer is hard to use, as you’re comparing on-screen, transmissive colour with printed, reflective colour.
There are four different consumables in this device: toner, image drum, transfer belt and fuser. They all have different service lives, so you’ll need to be on your toes to make sure you have replacements available all the time. Toner can be bought in 1,000 or 2,000 colour page cartridges, while black is available in 1,000 or 2,500 page capacities.
Buying the four-colour rainbow pack, the cheapest option, gives page costs of 2.28p for a 5 per cent black page and 8.19p for a 20 per cent colour one. The black print cost is high, compared with other colour lasers in the same market, but colour print cost sits in the middle of the field.
This device doesn’t produce particularly good colour print and is fiddly to set up, with all its various consumables. While things like the transfer belt and fuser can stay put for 50,000 pages or so, having separate toner and drum units makes life awkward and the print quality is nothing to write home about. Ideal for loud colours, not so good for anything subtle.