Oki B411dn review
Oki's B411dn is a network printer with automatic duplexing and - unusually - a parallel port. It prints at a reasonably swift speed of 33 pages per minute (ppm). Like other Oki printers it uses LEDs to create the page image, rather than a laser and mirror, which Oki claims is more robust. Although the B411dn's specification isn't remarkable at this price, its 60,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle inspires confidence, and it comes with a three-year onsite warranty.
We've seen several cheaper mono lasers with 10- or 50-sheet multipurpose feeds, but the Oki makes do with a single-sheet manual feed. The standard paper tray holds up to 250 sheets of A4, but for £125 you can fit a second 530-sheet cassette for a 780-sheet capacity.
Like most duplex printers, the B411dn sucks printed pages back in and flips them over in order to print the second side. However, during our tests a finished page was pulled back into the printer along with the half-printed one, causing a paper jam that was comparatively hard to clear.
Unusually, this printer has no envelope media setting, although it automatically selects 'heavy' if you choose an envelope media size. At the rear of the printer there's an unusually sophisticated fold-out tray that holds the output from the straight paper path, but even using this we couldn't print envelopes without their trailing edge being crumpled.
At this price we'd expect a laser-class printer to have reasonable running costs, but at 2.3p per print the B411dn is far from cheap. Its drum lasts 25,000 pages and the supplied toner is good for a fair 2,000 prints, but 3,000-page replacement toners cost around £60. Buying the printer and enough toner for 21,000 prints would cost around £660 – more than several competitors.
Fortunately, the B411dn's print quality is reasonably good. Its toner doesn't seem as dark on the page as many rivals, but the printer generally places it with accuracy. The result is crisp text with sharp outlines, and plenty of shading detail in photos. The same is true in illustrations and other graphics, but the dither patterns used seem more regular, and hence more noticeable than most. Graphics have a speckled appearance if you look at them closely.
Given its media handling problems and the relatively high price and running costs, the B411dn can't compete with the cheaper Canon LBP6300dn.
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