Oki's C610dtn color LED printer is one of the better-balanced office printer models I've seen recently. For a reasonable price, it offers good performance and economy. Its overenthusiastic color palette is my biggest complaint.
My second-biggest complaint is about the installation. Parts of the process are tedious: You have to install each driver and utility separately, and you have to "activate" installed accessories, such as the automatic duplexer. The setup guide's instructions for the Mac are outdated and have smaller factual errors, as well. Oki says that updated documentation will be available online in a few weeks.
In our tests, the printer's speed was very good, but its color quality needs adjustment. On the PC platform, the C610dtn posted healthy speeds of 19.1 pages per minute printing plain-text documents, and 2.7 ppm to 3.2 ppm printing photos at default and higher-quality settings, respectively. On the Mac platform, it printed text at a slightly slower pace of 17.2 ppm. A four-page PDF file of mixed text and graphics and a full-page color photograph each took around a minute to finish. The printer's oversaturated palette resulted in ruddy flesh tones and dark or lurid colors. Oki provides color-management utilities with the printer, and you will probably need them. We also noticed grainy or fuzzy qualities in solid-color areas.
The C610dtn's features would accommodate a busy workgroup. USB and ethernet connections are standard. The printer also has 256MB of memory with room for expansion. The two standard letter/legal paper trays hold 300 and 530 sheets, respectively; a third, 530-sheet tray lists for $229 from Oki. Though the 100-sheet front multipurpose tray could be useful, it's awkwardly designed. An automatic duplexer is standard. As for the controls, the panel is clearly labeled, and the menus displayed on the five-line monochrome LCD are easy to understand. The only unlabeled button, inexplicably, is the big one that unlocks the printer's top (requiring 27 inches of clearance) to reveal the toner supplies. The cartridges have lock levers and are keyed to their bays. A USB port is nestled in back, but Oki says that there's currently no U.S. application for it.
The economical consumables are a highlight. The C610dtn ships with starter-size, 2000-page cyan, magenta, yellow, and black toner supplies. Based on Oki's estimates, the black toner supply (part number 44315304) will cost about $90.45 and last 8000 pages, or about 1.1 cents per page. The cyan (44315303), magenta (44315302), and yellow (44315301) supplies will cost around $158 and last 6000 pages apiece, or about 2.6 cents per color per page. A four-color page would cost just 9 cents—a bargain. A full set of drums (one for each color, each with a 20,000-page yield) comes with the printer. Replacing them will cost about $71 to $77 apiece per Oki's estimates, adding about a third of a cent per color per page to your costs.
Macworld's buying advice
The C610dtn color LED printer has its shortcomings, but the overall package is good. Given its reasonable purchase price, speed, and affordable consumables, it could serve most small or medium-size workgroups competently.
[Melissa Riofrio is a senior editor for PCWorld.]