The Oki MC561dn colour laser printer/scanner/copier/fax is fast, fully equipped and affordable.
Ok's MC561dn colour laser multifunction printer is well equipped for a busy workgroup, with full print/copy/scan/fax features, outstanding speed, and superior text quality. Graphics quality fell short of our expectations, however, and Oki still has a lot to learn about ease of use.
Among multifunction printers (MFPs) at roughly the same price as the MC561, the slightly less expensive Brother MFC-9970CDW is a bit slower but offers comparable or better features - and better graphics quality.
If it weren't for minor differences in colouring and the nameplate, you wouldn't be able tell the MC561dn from its marginally slower cousin, the Oki MC361. Their feature sets are virtually identical, with five-line, 3.5in, tilting monochrome LCDs and well-labelled controls.
OKI MC561dn: Performance
What you pay extra for is the MC561dn's superior speed. In our tests, plain-text pages printed at a record-setting 17.6 pages per minute (ppm) on the PC and an impressive 15.4ppm on the Mac. Photos arrived quickly, too: Snapshots on plain or glossy paper emerged in 20 to 27 seconds, and a high-resolution, full-page photo on the Mac took just over a minute to print.
All printed output from the MC561dn bears a slight sheen. You might be a fan of this effect, or you might not; it's a matter of taste. Patina or no, text pages from this unit looked clear and sharp. Photos, on the other hand were merely adequate, with a distinct (though not unacceptably obvious) graininess. Copies of anything other than text looked grainy, too. Scans were acceptable: Line-art samples showed some moiré, while colour images tended to be overly dark.
The MC561dn's paper-handling features are complete. Duplexing (the ability to handle two-sided documents) is standard for printing, as well as for scanning and copying via the 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF). The front fold-down multipurpose tray holds 100 sheets, the main paper cassette accommodates 250 sheets, and the output tray can handle 150 sheets.
OKI MC561dn: Setup
One area where the MC561dn (and most other Oki multifunction printers we've tested, alas) badly needs to improve is in ease of setup and use. In the PC installation (via USB or ethernet), you have to install the PaperPort 11 SE and the OmniPage 16 scanning/document management applications separately. Network scanning is unduly complex, requiring the use of an inadequately documented configuration tool. Mac users don't get the same OCR/document software listed above, and they have to download a separate driver to get the scanner to appear in System Preference\Printers and Faxes or to use the scanner with OS X's scanning app.
Oki's estimated retail toner prices would yield middling costs per page.