Color Lasers Get Affordable
Oki Data C5200n
The best attributes of the $599 Oki Data C5200n are its text quality and its graphics printing speeds. The C5200n printed solid, crisp text, even producing closely spaced bold letters without bleeding together the edges, which is a common problem. On plain paper our color graphics had a rich, waxy appearance that exhibited some graininess but acceptable shadow detail.
The C5200n depends on a Windows GDI-based driver to push the page rendering workload onto your PC; models that support PCL or PostScript use their own memory and processor for this task.
In our speed tests the C5200n printed text at 12.8 pages per minute, just above average, and spat out color graphics at a rapid 5.2 ppm. Only the HP 3600n printed graphics faster.
The C5200n offers impressive paper handling. For starters, the main paper drawer has a generous 300-sheet capacity, and the multipurpose tray holds 100 additional sheets or 10 envelopes. The 100-sheet output tray also allows a straight path for envelopes and thick media. The optional duplexer is reasonably priced at $320, but Oki Data suggests that you also add 64MB of RAM, which costs $168. A 530-sheet drawer is pricey at $456.
The C5200n isn't especially big, but its 22.1-inch-deep case gives it a large footprint. The top lifts to expose the entire paper path, making replacement of the toner cartridges a cinch. The printer ships with 1500-page starter cartridges; standard replacement cartridges are rated to print 3000 pages. However, buying the high-capacity 5000-page cartridges could help control printing costs: Estimated costs per page are 2.1 cents for black and 11.1 cents for color.