- Review Price: £359.00
OKI produces a wide range of mono and colour business laser printers. The C5250n sits in the middle of its colour laser range, with high quoted page speeds and a simple layout which should make maintenance easy. It also offers what OKI calls Photo Enhance, designed to produce high-quality photo images on plain paper.
Colour laser printers fall into two design categories. There are carousel machines, which move the toner and drum cartridges round a carousel to apply each colour, and then there’s the inline design, where all four colours are applied in turn, in a single pass. The C5250n is an inline machine, so it’s potentially quite quick, but is also physically deep, in comparison with the more boxy HP and Epson devices.
Alone among colour business printer makers, OKI doesn’t make laser printers. In OKI machines, the high intensity light needed to discharge the photoconductor drum comes from a strip of high-intensity LEDs, rather than a laser beam. This makes the company’s printers simpler in design, while still producing a print of laser quality.
The C5250n is a comparatively squat machine, with a 300-sheet paper tray sliding in at the base and paper running an s-shaped paper path before feeding out to the machine’s top cover. A multi-purpose tray, which can take up to 100 more sheets of special media, folds down from the front face of the printer.
Just above the multi-purpose tray is a small control panel, consisting of six buttons, two indicator lights and a two-line by 16 character, backlit LCD display. This gives enough extra information, including when it’s receiving print data, to be a useful adjunct to the printer driver.
The C2520n is provided with a USB 2.0 port and, because of the ‘n’ option, an Ethernet port for direct network printing.
When you lift the top cover of the printer to install the consumables, all the part numbers for toner, drum, fuser and transfer belt are helpfully listed on a label at the front. Each of the four drum and toner units can be easily lifted out for replacement and in each case the toner hopper can be unclipped from the top of the drum, if you just need to add more toner. All consumables are supplied fitted to the machine, which makes initial set-up quick and easy.
Software is also easy to install and the driver provides multi-page per sheet and watermark options, though no help with manual duplexing.
Print speeds are closer to 10ppm and 3ppm, for black and colour pages, respectively, than OKI’s quoted 24ppm and 16ppm. The colour speed, in particular, looks very wishful. What’s more of a concern, though, is the warm-up time. If the C2520n has been in sleep mode, it takes over a minute for it to warm up, before the first page comes out. If the printer is in fairly regular use, this may not be a problem, but we think most owners will feel this warm-up wait quite often.
The quality of the prints the OKI printer produces is better than average, and black print is particularly good. All colours come out with slight gloss sheen, which gives black text a very precise, clean-cut appearance.
Colour, both in block graphics and photo output, is only fair. Quite a bit of stippling is noticeable in solid, non-primary colour areas and some unevenness is also evident. We saw loss of detail in darker areas of our test print. Comparing regular and photo enhanced prints, we could see little difference, perhaps a little extra detail.
It’s quite complicated to work out the costs of running this printer, as it has a number of different consumables, each with a different life cycle. The four toners have lives of 3,000 or 5,000, five per cent pages, depending on whether you chose standard or high-yield versions (standard yield parts are supplied with the printer).
You then have the image drum, which lasts 17,000 pages, the fuser unit, which lasts 45,000 pages and the transfer belt, which comes in at 150,000 pages. We disregard the cost of any consumable which lasts more then 100,000 pages, as this is typically outside the service life of an SME printer.
When you calculate these costs out, you get a black page at 1.72p and a 20 per cent colour page cost at 7.98p. While the black page cost is good, the cost of a colour page is high, when rival printers can manage up to 1.5p less.
ShopOki is currently offering a £60 rebate on the cost of the C5250n, which we’ve taken into account in the quoted street price of the machine. Even with this rebate, the printer doesn’t represent particularly good value for money. Unless you’re printing most of the time, the slow warm up could be a problem, too.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 8