OKI is keen to champion its 16ppm colour print, which is certainly fast for a £200 colour printer. In fact, though, our text and colour graphics test took 35 seconds to finish it five pages, giving a real-world print speed of 8.6ppm, just over half the rated speed. OKI’s 20ppm black print came down to 13ppm, too, using our standard, five-page black text print. Neither of these speeds is at all bad for a machine of this type, but again you should take the manufacturer’s specs under advisement.
A 15 by 10cm photo print took 19 seconds and getting three complete photos printed in under a minute shows the difference between colour ‘lasers’ and their inkjet siblings. Even at this speed, though, photo images lack the subtlety of an equivalent inkjet. Colours are bold and overstated, with shadow detail coming out near black.
Things are much better with business graphics, where the same brightness and colour solidity is a positive advantage and the coloured text in our text and graphics test is particularly vivid and eye-catching. Black text on coloured backgrounds is aided by the fact that there’s very little banding in areas of coloured tint. Black text itself is crisp and characters are very well formed.
All text and graphics has a slight gloss sheen, which some people may not like, but we find quite professional-looking.
As mentioned, the C3450n has a variety of consumables, all with different service lives. Each drum is good for 15,000 pages, but you’ll have to add several toner cartridges during that time, as each one has a capacity of 1,500 pages for standard yield, or 2,500 pages for high yield.
Additionally, the fuser and transfer belt have lives of 50,000 pages each, though with a colour laser this may extend beyond the service life of the printer. Working out the costs of all these components gives a cost per page of 2.9p for black text and 10.5p for colour. Both these figures are at the higher end of costs for a colour laser printer.
OKI’s C3450n is a neatly designed, compact colour laser printer, which is quite quick and produces good quality text and business graphics. While its photo printing is not as good as some other colour ‘lasers’, this is not the main reason for most people to buy one. Running costs are a little on the high side, but may improve as more suppliers compete to stock the machine’s consumables.