A versatile laser printer with the ability to scan, fax and copy, the Oki MC361 is aimed very much at businesses with complex needs. It’s no lightweight, despite the manufacturer’s claim for compactness.
Indeed, at around 29kg, the Oki MC361 is one of the heavier printers we’ve tested in recent times. That it doesn’t look particularly colossal is mostly down to the unusual styling. The bottom half of the Oki MC361 may follow the usual laser blueprint – blocky and robust, with a built-in drawer for paper, and enough room on top to collect the finished prints.
What you may not be expecting is the additional section that sits on top of the Oki MC361. This comprises the control panel, the scanning component, and the 50-sheet ADF (Automatic Document Feeder). The top half has a hinge, so you can fold this back to get access to the printer’s workings.
The Oki MC361 places functionality ahead of modern features. There’s no room for a touch-sensitive screen, for instance, and Oki clearly believes its business audience is less interested in such fripperies, and will be more taken with the battery of buttons on the control panel.
Many of these are needed for the 33.6 kbps fax facilities, although it’s nice to have the one-touch controls for the various components of the Oki MC361.
The menu system is fully-featured, and you also get a number of helpful utilities with the Oki MC361, from supervision software that lets you monitor and control printer usage (even down to individuals or specific file types), to the Colour Swatch that makes it easier to match up the colours of printer documents.
Oki MC361: Get connected
Besides the usual USB interface, the Oki MC361 has ethernet connectivity, and its support for an array of printer languages and network protocols makes it fairly advanced. You can also plug in a USB stick for extra functionality. Potentially, its paper handling facilities are immense. The standard paper tray (albeit rather stiff and difficult to pull out) holds 250 sheets, and there’s also a 100-sheet multi-purpose tray.
However, for an extra £198, you can buy a massive 530-sheet tray and upgrade the total paper handling to 880 pages.
Given such robust capabilities, it’s a shame that we didn’t have an easier time printing documents on the Oki MC361; we did experience a few paper jams during testing. This is a particular nuisance since the Oki isn’t the easiest printer to purge of trapped paper - to get to jams, we first had to fold back the top section, open the secondary lid and then remove the fuser unit.
The whole process generally takes over a minute, so it isn’t as quick a fix as simply opening the printer lid.
The Oki MC361 fares better on the results of its printing though. It comes with a choice of four quality modes, although the speed varied little across the different settings, averaging 18.8 pages per minute in testing.
Even in the lower quality mode, text output is extremely attractive - dark but with crisp character definition that should appease the pickiest of readers. Duplex facilities are available, and the printer dropped here to a still very reasonable 11.3ppm.
Maybe this doesn’t make the Oki MC361 quite as practical for mono duplex as, for example, the Kyocera Mita FS-1320D. Nonetheless, a 40% drop in performance is an adequate price to pay for double-sided printing.
It’s not as comfortable with graphics, and while the speed (12ppm) is swift, the results tended to be just a touch dark. With experimentation you can get better results, and the general rendering of details is quite adequate. In truth, you would expect to have to spend some time setting up an expensive printer like the Oki.
Nonetheless, its text output is superior to its graphics capabilities. It helps that the Oki MC361’s scanning facilities are good. Scans are fast and full of detail, and the double-sided ADF is easy to operate.
The decent software bundle includes version 11 of Nuance’s PaperPort SE and version 16 of OmniPage SE, and the decent running costs are typical of printers at this price point.
If anything, the mono page costs of 1.4p are particularly good value – even if they can only match those of the considerably cheaper mono-only Kyocera.
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