Every so often, when some of the major makers of laser and laser-class printers (Brother, Canon, and OKI, for instance) update their stables of small-business and workgroup printers, they all seem to land at the same time. Like here in mid-2017.
[amazon_link asins=’B01MUCEJ23′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’325ae485-c645-11e7-9736-9573f4d6f88d’]We’ve got reviews of laser-class stand-alone (printer-only) and multifunction (print/copy/scan/fax) models in the hopper for all but HP, and that company said to be on the lookout for soon-to-come announcements.
Tokyo-based OKI Data has been more active than behemoth HP early in 2017 on the laser front. The veteran printer maker released several new laser-class models, including two stand-alones, the OKI C332dn [amazon_link asins=’B01MRPD47M’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’50371677-c645-11e7-b0d4-5ff0859a582a’] and OKI C612dn [amazon_link asins=’B01N2LSJTM’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6622a943-c645-11e7-b49c-f977260d4912′], that we reviewed recently. Today, we’;re looking at the $899-MSRP OKI MC573dn [amazon_link asins=’B01MUCEJ23′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4453b8f9-c645-11e7-ac74-8bcc8da87520′], a midrange color-laser-class multifunction printer (MFP) along the same lines as several other laser-class MFPs we’;ve reviewed within the past year or so, such as the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw [amazon_link asins=’B014CSKE7E’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7d87956a-c645-11e7-afe3-5f7be9164495′], the Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW [amazon_link asins=’B01GV1MDHY’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’90b7ffd7-c645-11e7-9665-2579f21b8b67′], and the Xerox WorkCentre 6515 [amazon_link asins=’B01MFHCPSF’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a3d9eacf-c645-11e7-baa2-a9ce2c56b624′], to name a few.
All three of these, as well as the Brother, Canon, and soon-to-come HP machines, are actual laser printers, in that the light source inside them that etches page images on the print drum is a laser-driven mechanism. The OKI MC573dn, as well as the two stand-alone OKI models mentioned above, on the other hand, are LED-based printers. Their light source in each case is a light-emitting-diode (LED) array, rather than an actual laser; hence, we call them laser-class or laser-style printers. Aside from this distinction, though, from the outside LED-based printers function and look identical to their laser counterparts.
At one time, several printer manufacturers offered LED printers alongside laser-based siblings. Why? Well, because LED-array hardware is typically smaller and lighter, with fewer moving parts than what’s in laser equivalents, and the arrays use less power. They cost less to manufacture, too, thereby allowing for printers that are smaller, lighter, less costly to make, and more energy-efficient.
Even so, OKI is the only printer maker left that deploys LED arrays in most of its laser-class machines. Why? We can only speculate as to that. It’;s true that, because lasers deploy only one light source and LED arrays use several, laser imaging heads are often more precise. But that is not an absolute; we’;ve seen LED-based machines over the years that produce output as good as, and sometimes better than, many of their laser competitors. And, again, LED arrays draw notably less power, making them less expensive to run day in and day out.
Which brings us back to the OKI MC573dn. Overall, OKI has done a terrific job with this update. This model comes with a snazzy 7-inch touch screen, a decent feature set, and the option for expandable paper capacity. And its print quality is about average for its class, which may sound like faint praise but really means: It’s very good.
We aren’;t thrilled with its per-page toner cost, though. This printer would be a much better value if it saved you money on both power and consumables. Even so, the OKI MC573dn is a highly capable laser-class MFP that’s more than suitable for low to moderate volume in a micro or small office or workgroup. For the most part, it runs neck and neck with its laser-based competitors, except that its $899 list price (and roughly $699 street price) is a little steep compared to competing models mentioned here so far.