For some years now, we’ve squawked that laser and laser-class LED printers were, in terms of their per-page cost of toner, getting too expensive to use. That’s not because they were doing anything different—in fact, the category has been rather steady, nay, stagnant, for some time. But in that period, business inkjets with aggressive ink costs have swooped in and taken away these printers’ lunch, and have their eyes on their milkshakes, too.
If OKI Data’s most recent round of laser-class printers are any indication, at least one printer maker has heard that warning, or at least seen the flock of inkjets circling overhead. In fact, more than one of that company’s most recent monochrome laser-class printers—among them the OKI B512dnwe reviewed back in April of this year—delivered a cost per page (CPP) for toner under 1 cent, given certain circumstances.
It’s good to see laser and LED printers showing signs of life here in 2015, and the Japanese imaging giant has surprised us again, here with its $199-MSRP B412bn Monochrome Printer—the first under-$200 laser-class printer we’ve seen that delivers an under-2-cent per-page cost. The B412dn is the smaller of a pair of single-function monochrome laser-class printers released recently, with the $349 B432dn being the other.
For the additional $150 in the B432dn, you get, among other things, an 80,000-page monthly duty cycle (versus 60,000 in the B412dn) and support for higher-yield (12,000-page) toner cartridges. (That latter factor, the bigger toner cartridge, allows for an even lower CPP.) The B432dn is also rated at 7 pages per minute (ppm) faster, or 42ppm versus 35ppm.
Aside from these somewhat minor differences, these two single-function models—as well as the much faster-rated (47ppm), higher-capacity (100,000-page monthly duty cycle), and much higher-priced ($499 MSRP) B512dn mentioned earlier—are essentially the same in size, appearance, and features. It all comes down to how much you print, and how much savings you might actually garner from a lower CPP. For some users, the slices of a penny per page saved with the B432dn versus the B412dn might be well worth the additional $150 over the long haul.
That said, then, if a midrange laser-class machine like this OKI is what you need, the only real question mark is your day-to-day print volume. To that end, we’ll take a somewhat detailed look at what all these numbers mean—in terms of actual cost and savings as they relate to this OKI.
Before moving on to the next section, though, we should clarify why we call this a “laser-class” printer, as opposed to a pure “laser” printer. Like many of today’s low-cost laser-class machines, this model does not use an actual scanning laser to trace the transfer of toner onto the drum and ultimately to the paper. Instead, it employs a fixed light-emitting diode (LED) array to perform essentially the same function.
The benefits of using this LED technology for printer makers are many, including lower costs, the ability to build smaller machines, and fewer moving parts. Printer users, on the other hand, get smaller, lighter machines that use less power, all else being equal.
Do we recommend the OKI B412dn? Well, for its price and size, we really liked this printer. However, some of OKI’s other models, such as the two mentioned above, may provide better value depending on your printing-volume needs. This one works from a value point of view under a set of narrow circumstances, governed primarily by how much and what you print. We’ll get into all of that over the course of this review.
Otherwise, though, this is a great entry-level printer for pure text output.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.