Review of the OKI MC573dn color laser MFP at Computer ShopperEvery 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.

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 and OKI C612dn, that we reviewed recently. Today, we’re looking at the $899-MSRP OKI MC573dn, 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, the Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, and the Xerox WorkCentre 6515, 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.

OKI MC573dn (Front)

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.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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Review of the OKI C332dn at PCMagNot long ago, the conventional wisdom was that high-volume printing was cheaper on laser and laser-class (LED-array) printers, as opposed to inkjets. For a similar spec of printer, laser-class machines cost more but were less expensive to use, while inkjets cost less but had higher running costs.

Those days of such absolutes are over.

Nowadays, laser-class printers, especially color ones, not only often cost more than their comparable inkjet counterparts, such as the HP PageWide Pro 452dw, but their ongoing per-page operational costs are higher—sometimes, by a lot. (We’ll get into that in more detail later on in this review.) Where today’s review unit, the $349-list OKI C332dn, differs is that it’s aggressively priced for a color laser-class printer. In fact, as we were writing this, we found it all over the Internet for less than $250.

Unlike most of its contemporary counterparts, the C332dn does not deploy a laser emitter for etching page images onto the imaging drum. It’s classed as a laser-style printer, but it instead uses an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in place of the laser. The reason that some printer makers use LED arrays is that they’re smaller, lighter, and less expensive than lasers. As we pointed out in our review of the OKI C612dn a while back, OKI Data is one of the few printer makers left that still deploys LED arrays in most of its printers.

OKI C332dn (Left Angle)

Why are LED arrays not in as wide use today as they once were? We’re not entirely sure. Some might conjecture that it’s because laser printers print better than LED-based models, but we won’t go that far. We’ve seen LED-array machines, such as the OKI C831n we reviewed a few years back, that churn out exceptionally good-looking pages. And, conversely, we’ve seen “real” laser printers that don’t print as well as some LED-based machines do. The answer, then, to which type of machine prints best? It depends on the implementation. Even so, most other makers of toner-based printers—notably HP, Canon, Brother, and Samsung—rely predominantly on laser imaging mechanisms these days.

Which brings us back to the OKI C332dn. Overall, it is a highly capable, mid-volume stand-alone printer that churns out respectable-looking content at a good clip for the money. Compared to its competitors, though (and that includes several inkjets), its running costs are a little high, and we’re a big proponent of low running costs. But then, in some scenarios, laser-class output (toner versus ink) is required, and the page cost is secondary.

For those cases, the C332dn is an able warrior. It’s compact, as color laser-class machines go, and its output is acceptable for all but the most exacting business scenarios. But, between its toner cartridges and imaging drums, be prepared to dig deep to pay for the supplies to keep it going for heavy use. For that reason, we like it best for small businesses and workgroups that require laser-class output in light volumes—say, under 1,000 pages or so a month.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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