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Oki Printing Solutions C3200n

At a Glance
  • Oki Printing Solutions C3200n

    PCWorld Rating

Oki Printing Solutions C3200n
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

The $399 Oki Printing Solutions C3200n is the entry-level model in Oki's family of networked color laser printers. Oki achieves this lower price by offering less memory, fewer options, and smaller toner cartridges than it does with it other products.

Like its siblings, the C3200n uses four arrays of LEDs to apply toner to the pages. It has the same horizontal paper path and easy access to the toner cartridges, but it sports a large footprint (13.5 by 15.8 inches). And like the $599 C5200n we reviewed in December 2005 and the $799 C5800Ldn we review this month, the C3200n depends on a Windows GDI-based driver (which diverts the page-rendering workload to your PC).

The C3200n's text quality is adequate for most small-office purposes, displaying sharp edges, smooth diagonals, and solid larger lettering in our tests. We spotted some broken lines in fine italics, however, and a few oddly shaped characters. Close parallel lines remained clear and distinct in our tricky line art test, but our grayscale image looked harsh and gritty with a strong magenta cast. The printer's rich, waxy inks give color prints a glossy photographic appearance, but the images are very grainy and over-saturated even when produced at higher quality settings and printed on glossy laser printer paper.

In our tests, text printed at 11.6 pages per minute, slower than most of the color lasers we've evaluated recently. Color graphics performance was more respectable, at 4.3 ppm.

For the price, the C3200n comes well equipped, with a 300-sheet main paper drawer and a manual tray that holds another 100 sheets or 10 envelopes. Supplementing the 250-sheet output bin on top of the printer, a 100-sheet tray folds out from the rear, providing a flatter paper path for envelopes and thick media. The optional duplexer sounds like a reasonable deal at $320, but Oki says that using it requires another 64MB of RAM, which costs $168. Oki doesn't offer any paper tray options for the C3200n.

The printer accepts four toner cartridges, rated at 1500 pages each; the black costs $32, while the color cartridges cost $61 apiece. The 3000- and 5000-page cartridges offered for other Oki models won't fit in the C3200n. The other parts that require maintenance are pricey: $109 for the black drum (lasting 15,000 pages), $133 per color drum (15,000 pages), $140 for the fuser unit (45,000 pages), and $199 for the transfer belt (50,000 pages).

All of these factors make the estimated cost per page for this unit unusually high: 3.6 cents for black-and-white and 19.7 cents for color. If you plan to print a lot, this model's low up-front cost may not pay off in the end.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Low-priced GDI-based printer sacrifices options and features, but not print quality. Model did well at printing text.

    Pros

    • Sharp, solid text output

    Cons

    • Grainy and over-saturated color images
    • Potentially high cost per page
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