The Oki Printing Solutions C3400n is a low-end model in Oki's family of networked colour laser printers.

The Oki C3400n sports a design that's better suited to a small office than Oki's former corporate style, looking more like a stackable plastic storage box than a printer.

The Oki C3400n falls short of its sister product the Oki C3200n's good paper handling. Its main paper tray holds 250 sheets instead of 300, while it has a single-sheet slot in place of the C3200n's 100-sheet manual tray.

See also Oki C3300n review

Although the Oki C3400n retains a 250-sheet output bin (which gives a straighter path for thicker media), its rear-output capacity is down to only 10 sheets (from 100).

The Oki C3400n also trades the C3200n's neat backlit LCD for a simple control panel with two buttons and three lights, so most of the time you'll probably operate the Oki C3400n from your PC.

The C3400n applies toner to the page using four LED arrays, a trait common to all Oki colour printers. The Oki C3400n relies on a Windows GDI-based driver, too. By rendering the pages on your PC, Oki can build a cheaper printer by avoiding the need to pay licensing fees for printer languages such as PCL and PostScript.

The good news is that this doesn't hurt the Oki C3400n's performance, which is an improvement over the C3200n. In our tests, the Oki C3400n printed text at a roughly average 15ppm (pages per minute) and excelled at colour graphics, printing them at 5.3ppm at default settings on plain paper; it printed at 2.5ppm on glossy paper at best quality settings.

This model also offers improved text quality over the C3400n. Text output looked a little gray in our tests, and we noticed some jagged diagonals in large lettering, but most characters were sharp and nicely formed.

Our line-art sample exhibited some minor horizontal banding in blocks of close parallel lines, but otherwise lines appeared sharp and distinct.

Grayscale images achieved some good shadow detail, but looked a bit grainy with some narrow horizontal banding. On plain paper, the Oki C3400n's rich, waxy inks give a glossy photographic appearance, but the images appeared grainy and oversaturated. When we printed at higher quality settings on Oki's Premium White Gloss paper, we still saw banding patterns, unnatural colors, and some posterisation (lack of smooth gradient) in the darkest areas.

For maintenance, the top of the printer lifts to give easy access to the toner cartridges. Oki includes four cartridges with the Oki C3400n, each rated for 1000 pages. You can buy replacement cartidges with a slightly higher yield than the C3200n's, making Oki C3400n more economical to run.

Every 50,000 pages you need to replace the fuser unit and transfer belt, but Oki supplies these free during the standard one-year warranty. Outside of the warranty period, you're looking at unusually high per-page costs. If you expect to print high volumes, it would be worth buying an extended warranty beyond the standard one-year warranty to reduce these recurring costs.

Oki C3400n: Specs

  • Up to 20ppm mono, 16ppm colour
  • 250-sheet paper tray
  • 1,200x600dpi resolution
  • Photo Enhance Mode
  • 32MB RAM (288MB Max)
  • 200Mhz processor
  • USB & network connection
  • 376x479x290mm
  • 21kg
  • Up to 20ppm mono, 16ppm colour
  • 250-sheet paper tray
  • 1,200x600dpi resolution
  • Photo Enhance Mode
  • 32MB RAM (288MB Max)
  • 200Mhz processor
  • USB & network connection
  • 376x479x290mm
  • 21kg

OUR VERDICT

We like the Oki C3400n's high-quality text printing, fast colour printing and relatively compact size, but the operating costs are steep.

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