Oki's B6500n competes with monochrome laser printers using its distinctive LED-based technology (the machine uses a page-wide array of LEDs, instead of a moving laser beam, to create images). Like other printers in its price range - such as the HP LaserJet P4014n and the Lexmark T652n - it's designed to be a workhorse. The B6500n could compete better with the others if it weren't hampered by various design problems.
Although the B6500n is fast, its print quality varies. Oki claims a top engine speed of 45 pages per minute (ppm); and in our tests it reached 40.1ppm - better than most competitors could manage. Its graphics speed was a more typical 7.3ppm, but the Oki's graphics quality dismayed us: regardless of the type of image we printed, we saw washed-out shades and roughness or horizontal banding.
The Oki B6500n comes standard with a 550-sheet input tray and a 150-sheet multipurpose tray, plus a 500-sheet output tray and an auxiliary, straight-paper-path rear output that holds 70 sheets. The unit doesn't include automatic duplexing, but it is an optional extra. Not enough paper capacity? You can also ass one or two more 550-sheet input trays.
Unfortunately, these trays were carelessly designed. Neither the guides nor most markings are colour-coded, so it's easy to miss things such as where to stop the length guide for letter-size paper. Extending the trays to legal-size requires unlocking two latches; the instructions for doing this are stamped into bottom of the Oki B6500n's tray and are not coloured, so they're hard to find, let alone read. Connectivity includes USB, ethernet, and even the older parallel and serial ports.
The control-panel design is almost perfect: clearly labelled and uncluttered. Oki provides four-way arrow buttons for navigating menus on the two-line, 16-character monochrome LCD. Which arrow direction to choose can be unclear, particularly when the B6500n's left/right arrows must be used for moving up or down.
The Oki B6500n ships with a 6000-page starter cartridge and per-page costs are good.