Rather different in appearance to the Kyocera Mita FS-C5250DN, the Oki C530dn throws out the layers of midnight blue, instead plumping for a colour scheme that pairs a rather lighter grey with a bright cream. The effect is much cleaner, and at just just 242mm tall the Oki's low-slung appearance is far less imposing than the 397mm-tall Kyocera, helping it to blend in nicely.
The Oki C530dn also benefits from a boldly marked control panel, with clearly labelled buttons and a simple pair of lights. There's very little here to confuse, and the Oki is less forbidding than a good many of the other high-end printers on the market.
Of course, part of the reason for it seeming less formidable than the Kyocera is, quite simply, because it is. You miss out on the immense capabilities of the FS-C5250DN. Take the paper handling. The standard input tray is a 250-sheet version – highly capable and found on many a laser in this feature, but it simply doesn't measure up to the Kyocera's hefty 500-sheet version.
The additional multipurpose feeder is one of the best we've seen, and can take as many as 100 sheets.
However, the maximum paper input of the Oki C530dn is more limited, and you can only push up the Oki to 880 sheets. This is still very strong, but for those who may need the very best paper handling they can find, the Oki comes a poor second to the meaty Kyocera Mita FS-C5250DN.
It's also worth noting that the Oki C530dn's drawer wasn't as rugged as the Kyocera's, and a couple of times we had to give it a strong shove in order to get it to slot into place.
Like the Kyocera, the Oki C530dn comes with 256MB of memory as standard, although in the case of the Oki this can only be pushed up to a maximum of 768MB - the Kyocera can go up to 1280MB.
The 532MHz processor is a touch slow compared with the Kyocera's 667MHz version. The Oki doesn't have such a strong range of printer languages as the Kyocera, although the most important two - PCL 6 and PS3 support - are present and correct. We found the Oki C530dn to be a rather loud printer, and even when it's not printing, it can be emitting a loud hum.
The Oki C530dn doesn't lack for speed, and while it again doesn't quite match up to the Kyocera, it comes very close. Its 22.3 pages per minute for text was very capable, and the output is reasonably crisp, if not particularly sensational in laser terms.
Auto duplexing brings the speed down to 13.3ppm, which is a slightly larger drop than on the Kyocera. Nonetheless, even at 13.3ppm the duplex mode is viable - even if speed demons and the very impatient may prefer to stick to single-sided output.
Colour was a little bit of an anti-climax. The speed (16.7ppm) was good, but the output wasn't as faithful to the source material as we would have liked, and some of the photos had a slightly unrealistic hue. It worked well enough for PowerPoint slides, though, and for general use the Oki is more than adequate.
As with the Kyocera, the Oki C530dn has outstanding running costs. Its text figures – just over one pence for a page of mono – were particularly strong.
The costs of 6.8p for a page of colour are still very reasonable, although not on a par with the Kyocera's ultra-generous 5.2p a page.
It's not as good as the Kyocera FS-C5250DN. And that's really the problem for the Oki C530dn. At almost every step of the way, it finds itself being trumped by the Kyocera. The latter has far more potential for expansion, is faster and (for colour, at least) is cheaper on running costs. The Oki is cheaper to buy, but not by an awful lot. Given the choice, we'd find it hard to opt for the Oki first.