Oki C843dn

A space-sav­ing, sen­si­bly priced A3 colour LED printer, com­bin­ing good print qual­ity with strong per­for­mance

PC Pro - - News - DAVE MITCHELL

If you’re short on of­fice space then Oki’s C843dn could be the per­fect printer for you. It’s prob­a­bly the small­est A3 unit on the mar­ket – and one of the cheap­est too, so it should fit com­fort­ably into your bud­get.

Though com­pact, the C843dn is sur­pris­ingly heavy: it weighs in at 40kg, so it’ll need to sit on a very sturdy desk. Pa­per choices start with a sin­gle 300-sheet A3 lower tray and 100-sheet A3 MPT (multi-pur­pose tray), to which you can add three ex­tra 530-sheet trays and a wheeled base. The out­put tray at the top of the printer holds up to 250 pages; open­ing the rear out­put pro­vides a straight path through the printer, al­low­ing you to use heavy 256gsm pa­per and pro­duce ban­ners up to 1.3m long.

The C843dn’s 1,200dpi print en­gine showed its strength in our out­put qual­ity tests, de­liv­er­ing pin-sharp text down to the small­est of font sizes and mono photos with good de­tail, even in darker ar­eas.

Colour out­put is equally good. The un­sightly cross-hatch­ing that has som­times af­flicted Oki’s lower-end LED prin­ters was, thank­fully, not ev­i­dent at all. Pho­to­graphs came out with bags of crisp de­tail, while rich colour sat­u­ra­tion gave our A3 posters a real punch. For even more “pop”, the driver’s Photo En­hance fea­ture sharp­ens fo­cus and in­creases con­trast: our only caveat is that this can lead to de­tail in darker ar­eas be­ing lost.

The Oki C843dn is ad­ver­tised as print­ing at 35ppm for A4 and 20ppm for A3, in both mono and colour. We found th­ese fig­ures were bang on the money – although to print A4 at full speed you must place the pa­per length­ways across the tray. With the short side towards the pa­per path we saw A4 print speeds drop to 18ppm. Make sure you set the dial on the pa­per tray to the right size, as a mis­match will cause the printer to drop back to the MPT.

The in­te­gral du­plexer doesn’t slow things down too much ei­ther: clev­erly, it saves time by re­vers­ing the pa­per in­side the printer in­stead of snatch­ing it back at the last second. This en­abled it to pro­duce dou­blesided A4 prints at 18ppm.

While LED print­ing tech­nol­ogy is sim­pler than a tra­di­tional laser de­sign, the C843dn has a lot of con­sum­ables to re­place, with im­age drums and toner car­tridges for each colour, plus a fuser unit and trans­fer belt. Inevitably, this has an im­pact on run­ning costs: a stan­dard mono A4 page works out to 1.3p, while a colour one costs 7.4p.

Google Cloud Print can be set up us­ing the C843dn’s small LCD dis­play,

“While LED print­ing tech­nol­ogy is sim­pler than a tra­di­tional laser de­sign, the C843dn has a lot of con­sum­ables to re­place”

panel, but no other cloud fea­tures are sup­ported – not even Ap­ple AirPrint. If you want to print from an iPad or iPhone then in the­ory you should be able to use Oki’s iOS Mo­bile Print app, but you might need to en­gage in some tin­ker­ing to get it to work: we found the app could see our printer, but re­fused to con­nect to it.

The Win­dows driver of­fers good lev­els of con­trol over the print­ing process, with op­tions for du­plex­ing, cre­at­ing book­lets and posters, and PIN-se­cur­ing jobs for walk-up print tasks. Fur­ther print­ing per­mis­sions can be en­forced by cre­at­ing users from the web in­ter­face and as­sign­ing roles to de­ter­mine whether they can use colour.

A 16GB SDHC card slot lets you in­creases se­cu­rity fur­ther, en­abling en­cryp­tion and se­cure era­sure of con­fi­den­tial print jobs. If you want wire­less, there’s a con­nec­tor for a small 802.11n card (cost­ing an ex­tra £34) at the side of the printer.

Oki’s C843dn is a prac­ti­cal way for small busi­nesses to bring colour A3 print­ing in-house. Run­ning costs are a lit­tle on the high side, ex­pe­cially in colour, so it’s not suited to huge print vol­umes, but it has a good turn of speed and makes no com­pro­mises on print qual­ity.

BE­LOW Oki pro­vides plenty of ad­min tools while the driver of­fers fine con­trols for poster print­ing

ABOVE The C843dn packs great A3 print qual­ity into a mod­estly sized frame

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