Our A4 test prints took 23 seconds for the five-page black text and 31 seconds for the five-page black text and colour graphics. These times equate to real-world print speeds of 13.0ppm and 9.68ppm, respectively, which are quite a way below OKI’s figures. We also ran A3 equivalents of our two print tests, again using back text and mixed text and graphics pages. This time we saw speeds of 7.89ppm and 8.57ppm for black and colour, again quite a bit slower than the spec sheet speeds.
Printed output is good, with sharp and dense blacks giving high-contrast pages. Colour is also clean and registration on overprints, with black text over colour, is better than from some of its competitors. Print takes on a slightly glossy sheen, which is not at all unattractive and only our test photo print brought the standard down.
Although, as we’ve often said, most customers don’t buy colour laser printers for photographic work, there are still quite a few problems with the C8800’s photo output. Noticeable banding across areas of sky is one of these and almost complete loss of detail in shadowed areas is another. There’s a good level of detail in the foreground to the image, but the colours show a reduced gamut and give a rather over-accentuated, seaside-postcard effect.
Print quality on A3 pages is very similar to that on A4, as you’d expect, and the printer is definitely better at bright bold colours, than more subtle shades.
You’ll need to replace toner cartridges every 6,000, five per cent pages and the image drums they clip into every 20,000 pages. The transfer belt needs changing every 80,000 pages and a fuser unit, which may be a lifetime components if the printer is in a low-duty environment, should last 100,000 pages.
Adding up all the different consumables gives a cost per five per cent page of 2.16p and for a 20 per cent page, it comes out at 6.84p. Both these costs are for A4 pages and both are competitive against the C8800’s main rivals.
This is a good printer in most respects, with very reasonable running costs and good print quality on all but photographic output. Although it doesn’t match its manufacturer’s claimed print speeds, few printers do and its real-world speeds are sufficient for general office needs. You do pay a lot for the facility of printing A3 pages, though, which when all’s said and done, are only twice as big as A4. That’s not reflected in the asking price, though much of the technology is the same for both capacities of printer.