The Oki C330dn colour LED printer (a laser-like technology) is competitively priced for small offices or small workgroups. Compared with other colour laser printers and LED printers we've tested, however, it falls short on colour - both in the quality and in the cost of toner.

The Oki C330dn installed quickly on our test PC, but it fumbled on our Mac. The Mac installation was a poorly documented, labyrinthine process that required opening several folders and selecting oddly named installation packages. After we made a few educated guesses as to which install file to run, added the printer manually when it was connected via ethernet (the printer added itself automatically when we attached it via USB), and installed the Mac Rosetta framework that the driver relies on, things went smoothly. Oki now offers a downloadable update, eliminating the need for Rosetta.

Speed was average for a small workgroup printer overall. Pages containing mostly text and a few simple grayscale graphics averaged 15.2 pages per minute on the PC and 13.7 ppm on the Mac. Also on the Mac, our four-page PDF with mixed text and colour took 4.6 ppm. Small photos from the PC averaged a peppy 3 ppm on plain paper and 2.4 ppm on glossy paper. The larger, higher-resolution photo that we print on the Mac came out at a midrange 1 ppm.

Output quality was somewhat disappointing. To the Oki C330dn's credit, text looked black, crisp, and a little shiny. colour graphics, on the other hand, showed noticeable banding and graininess. Flesh tones appeared ruddy and cartoonish. Grayscale areas seemed noticeably brown; changing the driver to standard mode produced true grays. The results would be passable for mainstream business graphics, but we wouldn't recommend this printer for photos.

The Oki C330dn's configuration is adequate for a small office and has options for expansion. If you're expecting a high workload, you can buy a second 550-page bottom tray. The standard paper handling includes a 250-sheet bottom-mounted tray, a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, and a top output tray. The only thing we missed was better access to the paper path to clear jams; you might need to remove toner cartridges and other elements if the paper gets stuck in the wrong location. The front controls - including a two-line monochrome LCD and a cursor rocker button - are minimal but easy to use, as are the printer driver and the colour/gamma correction utilities.

The toner costs edge higher than we'd like. The price for black toner is average, at 1.3p per page (the 3500-page cartridge costs £46). The 2000-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges cost £63 apiece, or a high 3.1p per colour per page. In total, a four-colour page would cost 12.4p.

See also: Group test: what's the best budget printer?

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Group test: what's the best printer?

Oki C330dn: Specs

  • USB 2.0, 10/100 TX Ethernet
  • PCL6 PostScript3 emulation, SIDM
  • TCP/IP: ARP, IPv4/v6, ICMPv4/v6, TCP, UDP, LPR, FTP, TELNET, HTTP(IPP), BOOTP, DHCP, SNMPv1/v3, DNS, DDNS, UPnP, Bonjour, WINS, SSL/TLS, SMTP, POP3, SNTP, WSDPrint, LLTD, JetDirect protocols, NetBIOSoverTCP. NetWare3.x, 4.x, 5.x and 6 with full NDS and NDPS support: PServer, RPrinter, NDPS supported via dedicated OKI NDPS Gateway
  • AppleTalk: ELAP, AARP, DDP, AEP, NBP, ZIP, RTMP, ATP, PAP
  • NetBEUI: SMB, NetBIOS
  • 1200x600dpi, 600x600dpi
  • 242x410x504mm
  • 22kg
  • USB 2.0, 10/100 TX Ethernet
  • PCL6 PostScript3 emulation, SIDM
  • TCP/IP: ARP, IPv4/v6, ICMPv4/v6, TCP, UDP, LPR, FTP, TELNET, HTTP(IPP), BOOTP, DHCP, SNMPv1/v3, DNS, DDNS, UPnP, Bonjour, WINS, SSL/TLS, SMTP, POP3, SNTP, WSDPrint, LLTD, JetDirect protocols, NetBIOSoverTCP. NetWare3.x, 4.x, 5.x and 6 with full NDS and NDPS support: PServer, RPrinter, NDPS supported via dedicated OKI NDPS Gateway
  • AppleTalk: ELAP, AARP, DDP, AEP, NBP, ZIP, RTMP, ATP, PAP
  • NetBEUI: SMB, NetBIOS
  • 1200x600dpi, 600x600dpi
  • 242x410x504mm
  • 22kg

OUR VERDICT

Like many other low-cost colour workgroup printers, the Oki C330dn is a mixed bag. Its photo quality is disappointing, but its toner costs are tolerable. One competitor, the Dell 1350cnw, produces far better photo quality than the Oki C330dn - but its toner costs are exorbitant.

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