Oki Printing Solutions B4250
At a Glance
Oki Printing Solutions Oki B4250
The B4250 lacks built-in networking, but prints high quality text at a competitive pace.
At $229 (as of 1/13/2006), the Oki Printing Solutions B4250 is one of the cheapest mono laser printers we've seen recently. However, it lacks the networking that comes standard with the other models on our chart this month. To get a built-in ethernet port, you'd need to choose the $420 Oki B4350n. Like all of Oki's small-office printers, the B4250 uses an array of LEDs instead of a laser to charge its drum's photoconducting surface, which transfers toner to the paper.
The Oki's beige plastic design looks dated. Furthermore, its separate installers for each component and reliance on DOS-style device names (such as LPT: and USB:) during setup make the Oki seem positively archaic. The Setup Manual's instructional black-and-white photos, complete with disembodied human hands, also impart a definite old-school feel.
The B4250's main paper tray holds 250 sheets of paper. An optional 500-sheet drawer costs $190. The auxiliary paper tray needs a good tug to fold it down from the front of the printer. Once it's in place, it lets you feed individual sheets of alternate media, such as letterhead paper. You can also use it to print on thicker media, such as envelopes, in combination with the rear paper exit. A nice extra: The flatter paper path helps to avoid creasing. The rear tray holds up to 50 sheets of paper, which arrive faceup, compared to the 150-sheet facedown bin up top.
Oki offers just a single capacity of toner cartridge for the B4250; it costs $36 and is rated for 2500 pages. With drum assembly replacement every 25,000 pages for $199, your cost per page is a reasonable 2.2 cents. Dust that spills from the used toner cartridge can make toner replacement a messy job, but the separate drum unit slides in and out of the chassis easily.
Our panel of judges awarded high scores for the B4250's text and line art print quality, but they were less enthusiastic about the B4250's graphics printing. Small text looked sharp, with only a few minor artifacts visible. Close parallel lines were distinct and there was very little banding evident. But while our grayscale image showed good shadow detail, it was too light and exhibited some narrow banding. We clocked the B4250's text printing at a competitive 19 pages per minute, while its graphics printing speed of 9.4 ppm was good for a small-office printer.
Despite its fuddy-duddy appearance, the Oki Printing Solutions B4250 delivers good text quality and speed.