OKI C3530 MFP Review
- Review Price: £620.49
Most colour all-in-one machines are inkjet-based, but there’s a growing market for colour laser and LED multi-function devices; one which OKI and wants a part of. Its C3530 MFP device is a colour LED printer with a flatbed scanner mounted on top a design that makes it a full 500mm deep and the best part of that high as well.
The flatbed scanner is a 600dpi device, complete with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) on top. It needs a magnetic catch to hold the lid down, as the entire scanner section folds to give access to the colour LED mechanism below.
Lift the lid on this and you have four image drum and toner units, mounted in a line from front to back, with a transfer belt fitted underneath and a fuser unit at the back. All these components have different service lives and all are consumables, so the machine is more complex to maintain than some of its rivals.
The printer section of the device has a 250-sheet paper tray mounted at the bottom and paper follows an S-shaped path, feeding from the front of the paper tray and ejecting from a slot at the back of the printer’s top surface. There’s no optional second tray, though you do have a single-sheet, multi-purpose tray for special media, as long as it’s no thicker than 120gsm.
Styled into the front of the flatbed scanner is the machine’s control panel, which includes a five-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display, a number pad for the printer’s fax facilities, a circular pad of five buttons and a subdivided circular black and colour copy button.
At the back are sockets for USB 2.0 and Ethernet connections; this device is network enabled as standard. There’s a USB 2.0 socket at the front too, designed to receive documents scanned from the flatbed or ADF into a memory drive. This is something of a missed opportunity, as the same socket could have been used for downloading files to print, or even as a PictBridge socket to enable photo printing. It’s often very handy to be able to print a document from a memory drive and can be more secure, too.
The All-in-One device is supplied with its four imaging drum and toner units already in place, though you do have to remove each in turn, take out packing wraps and replace them, before switching each toner cartridge to the unlock position. A wedge also has to be removed from the fuser unit.
OKI supplies a barrel-load of software with the machine, including both PaperPort and OmniPage in trimmed-down versions and a template manager, for corporate page templates. There’s also a Colour Correct application, which is sorely needed.
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.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 5
|Paper Size||Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, B5, A6, C5 Envelope, C6 Envelope, DL Envelope, Monarch Envelope, Com 9 Envelope, Com10 Envelope, Custom Size|
|Sheet Capacity||250 sheets, 251 sheets|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||20 ppmipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||16 ppmipm|
|Scan Resolution (Dots per inch)||4800 dpi, 4800dpi|