Small businesses looking for a budget-priced A4 colour laser printer can stop searching now, as they won't find one for less than Oki's C332dn. Costing a mere £94, this network-ready desktop model offers mono and colour print speeds of 30ppm and 26ppm and includes the maximum 1GB of memory plus an internal duplex unit.
Oki's LED technology scores over traditional lasers as it employs a flat paper path through the printer. It can handle heavyweight 220gsm stationery, while opening the multi-purpose tray (MPT) at the front and the rear paper slot allows big marketing banners up to 1,320mm long to be produced.
The C332dn is very well built and its standard 250-sheet paper tray can be augmented with a second lower 530-sheet tray. It has USB 2 and Gigabit ports as standard and Oki offers an optional 11n wireless module which costs £31 and snaps in easily behind a small panel at the side.
A downside of Oki's low asking price is its high running costs. The four high-yield toner cartridges and individual drums plus belt and fuser combine to deliver a mono page for 2p and a colour one for 11.4p - making the C332dn best suited to infrequent colour use.
However, the C332dn could actually be the first disposable laser. It comes with 1,000-page starter cartridges and with Oki's current offer of a free 1,500-page black toner cartridge, it could be cheaper to simply recycle it and buy a new printer when they've run out.
The printer is easy to install with most functions accessible from its basic web interface, although AirPrint and Google Cloud Print must be configured from the printer's 2-line LCD panel. Even so, with these enabled, we had no problems printing via the cloud or directly over AirPrint.
After installing the PCL6 and PS drivers on our Windows 10 desktops, we dipped into Oki's toolbox of desktop utilities. These include a remote configuration manager which accesses the printer's 3GB of eMMC Flash memory so you can upload custom forms and fonts from the Storage Manager desktop plug-in.
To get the best printing access controls, we recommend Oki's free smart PrintSuperVision (sPSV) web server. We loaded this on a Windows Server 2012 R2 host and used its web console to register the printer, view its print logs and restrict access to colour printing by hostname, document name, application and user.
The C332dn delivers on Oki's speed promises with a 30-page mono Word document completed in 60 seconds at all driver resolutions and duplexed at 16.5ppm. Our challenging 24-page colour DTP document was swiftly dispatched at 27ppm even at the top ProQ interpolated 2,400dpi resolution.
Output quality for general office printing use is good, with pin-sharp text right down to 6pt fonts. Mono photos are clean with no discernible colour wash, although a lack of detail in darker areas left them looking a tad murky. Colour photos and reports benefit from good contrast and detail while the driver's Photo Enhance setting makes visible improvements by increasing sharpness and contrast.
Our only real issue with output quality is that large areas of single colours clearly exhibit the slight cross-hatching effect we've come to expect from low-cost LED printers. You won't have to wait long for your printouts though, as the time to first page from ready status was between 8-10 seconds and during testing, we recorded tolerable peak sound levels of 63dB at one metre.
For a sub-£100 colour LED printer, the C332dn has a lot to offer budget-conscious small businesses. Its comparatively high running costs restrict it to low-demand colour printing but it won't be faulted for print speeds and output quality.