Oki MC160n review
single-pass colour laser, 20ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 432x405x427mm
We haven’t had the best luck with Oki’s printers and MFPs in the past, but we were happy to give the MC160n the benefit of the doubt. It didn’t immediately impress us, though, thanks to its long warm-up times and rather noisy printing.
Setting it up can also be a chore. Indeed, if you’re a Windows 7 user you should repurpose the supplied driver disc as a drinks mat and download some up-to-date drivers from Oki’s website. Unfortunately, they don’t come with their own installers, so we had to point Windows' own installer at the driver we'd downloaded and unzipped. It works, but the process is greater hassle than it should be. It’s also worth noting that the printer doesn’t even have emulated support for the PCL or PostScript page description languages. Instead, it has a GDI host-based driver. This won’t be a problem for most users, but those who do a lot of layout or design work may prefer to look elsewhere.
Something that doesn’t suffer from any unnecessary complication is the MC160n’s onboard control panel and menu system. Both the navigation buttons and the menu structure are entirely clear and easy to use, whether you’re sending a fax, scanning to a connected USB stick or configuring the printer’s network settings. It also has a HTML interface for remote management and configuration, and this replicates the menu options for configuring everything, from default paper settings to the fax phone book.
The MC160n’s print quality is excellent, with prints having extremely accurate colour reproduction and sharp text, even at small font sizes. Contrast was slightly poor on dark areas, but shading was generally smooth. It’s worth noting that colour printing is very slow indeed, with the MC160n having a print speed of just 4.5ppm. Mono text is quick, at least, emerging at 17.6ppm. When it comes to costs, both mono and colour are fairly reasonable. A mono page costs 2.7p, while a page of mixed mono and colour printing comes out at 12.5p. That’s not at all bad for an MFP costing less than £300.
We weren’t as impressed with the printer’s copy quality, however, which was fairly fast but rather murky and grainy in the case of both mono and colour copies. Sadly, the scanner driver feels dated. We were also perplexed to find that it defaults to black and white mode. There aren’t many options available, but they cover the basics such as resolution and colour mode, but little else. There’s also an auto-crop feature, but we couldn't get it to work. Its scan speeds are quick, however, and its scans are reasonably accurate, although some bright tones were somewhat muted.
The MC160n is reasonably priced and fairly cheap to run, but its OPC drum represents an additional cost that isn’t built into the price of toner. It is upgradable, however, with an optional duplexer and a 500-sheet paper tray being available, but both are fairly expensive. Its slow colour printing speeds are also an issue. The MC160n is a sound personal or small office colour laser MFP, but there are better printers available - such as the HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fn.