Oki Data Oki B6300n
At a Glance
The solidly built Oki Data B6300n would make a good workhorse printer for a small department. For about $925, you'll get plenty of paper capacity, excellent print speeds, and good image quality.
The B6300n's main paper tray holds up to 550 sheets, while the smaller secondary tray is ideal for stocking up to 150 sheets of letterhead or a decent-size stack of envelopes. You can increase the paper capacity by attaching up to two more 550-sheet drawers (priced at $312 each) to the bottom of the printer, bringing the maximum total capacity to 1800 sheets. The printer automatically detects the size of many paper formats, but we had little trouble settting up odd sizes, such as envelopes, from the menu-driven control panel.
For monster print jobs, the bin on top of the printer can collect up to 500 sheets, face-down. Another 70 sheets can land face-up in the rear tray. For $312 you can add a duplexer to print on both sides of the paper.
The B6300n excelled in our performance tests. At 18.6 pages per minute for text, its speed approaches those of much more expensive laser printers. Meanwhile, only one other printer in our current crop of workgroup lasers, the $1500 Lexmark T632n, matched its graphics output speed of 11.4 ppm.
We noticed a little fuzziness on the bottom of some characters in our text quality samples; but small characters appeared sharp, and closely spaced letters were distinct. The B6300n rendered our line-art test beautifully, with smooth diagonals, sharp white on black, and minimal banding in narrow parallels. The grayscale photograph print was the only weak point in this model's performance. Though the photo had good contrast and well-formed dark areas, we saw some obvious banding in gray areas and moire fringes in textures. We had little trouble installing the B6300n on our network. A small setup poster and a printed Setup Guide offer guidance; the Technical Reference Manual on the software CD-ROM tells you everything you could possibly want to know about the printer.
The Oki B6300n has a few interesting network features, too. A built-in Web server lets you check your print jobs' status from your desktop browser. And you can set up the server to receive e-mail, so its built-in PostScript engine can print PDF documents and TIFF images sent as attachments. Be careful to keep the printer's e-mail address secret from outsiders, though--you don't want your printer to receive spam.
A good choice for a medium-size workgroup, the Oki Data B6300n offers economical text printing at high levels of performance and quality. Grayscale photographic images, however, were below par.