capsule review

Oki Printing Solutions C5500n

At a Glance
  • Oki Printing Solutions C5500n LED Printer (24 PPM, 1200x600 DPI, Color, 64MB, PC/Mac)

    PCWorld Rating

    This midpriced GDI-based printer offers dual paper trays and fast print speeds, especially for graphics.

The Oki Printing Solutions C5500n shares the distinctive design of the company's networked color printers, but this particular model combines good paper handling, fast performance, and economical running costs, at a reasonable price of $595 (as of March 7, 2007).

The control panel features a backlit two-line LCD and sensibly arranged buttons for easy setup. The main paper drawer can hold 300 sheets of paper, and a 100-sheet manual paper tray folds down from the front. You can feed up to ten envelopes at a time from the manual tray. An optional 530-sheet drawer ($184) raises the maximum paper capacity to 930 sheets, and an optional duplexer ($144) adds double-sided printing. In the output bin on top of the unit, you can collect 250 sheets face down. A 100-sheet face-up stacker folds down from the rear of the printer and provides a straight path for envelopes and other heavy media.

Like other Oki color printers, the C5500n applies toner to the page using four LED arrays instead of a laser beam--so it's not a laser printer, strictly speaking. Like the other Oki models we've reviewed recently, it uses your PC's processor to render its pages from the Windows GDI.

In our speed tests, the C5500n was fast across the board, printing text pages at 23.9 pages per minute, color images on plain paper at 5.0 ppm, and glossy photos at 3.3 ppm.

Though print quality was far from perfect, it was in line with other color lasers we've tested. Text appeared crisp and finely formed, with a medium weight that left the overall page neither too light nor too dark. Line art looked sharp and precise, apart from some minor horizontal patterns in closely spaced blocks of lines. On plain paper, color images were too dark to reveal much shadow detail and had inaccurate colors. On glossy paper, we noted reddish complexions, some unusual red posterization in shadows, and undesirably grainy dithering patterns. Our grayscale sample fared worst: It had a reddish-brown tint and was far too dark.

The C5500n ships with four toner cartridges, each rated for 1500 pages. Its horizontal paper path contributes to a long footprint but makes replacing the cartridges simpler. High-capacity cartridges, rated at 5000 pages, are priced at $108 for black and $165 for each of the three colors. You also need to replace the black drum (reasonably priced at $68) and three color drums ($74 each) every 20,000 pages. The one-year warranty covers replacement of the fuser unit and transfer belt, each rated for 60,000 pages. These factors bring the model's estimated per-page printing costs to 2.5 cents for monochrome and 13.5 cents for color during the warranty period.

Good paper handling, fast print speeds, and reasonable page costs make this color laser a good fit for busy offices.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This midpriced GDI-based printer offers dual paper trays and fast print speeds, especially for graphics.

    Pros

    • Fast printing.
    • Good paper handling.

    Cons

    • Poor grayscale printing.
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