As more and more sub-$1,000 color laser printers appear on the market, manufacturers are beginning to include mid-range options in their low-end products. For about $800, the new Oki Data C5800Ldn color laser printer offers fast print speeds, near-inkjet-quality photo prints, extensive color controls, built-in 10/100 Ethernet connectivity, and automatic duplexing. Unfortunately, its colored text wasn’t very sharp.
Setting up the C5800Ldn can be tedious. The instructions are a little hard to follow, and it’s easy to wind up with colored powder on you hands. For this reason alone, I’d opt for the larger capacity toner cartridges (which can print up to 5,000 pages instead of 2,000 pages) to cut down the frequency of installing toner.
You can connect the printer via USB 2.0 or 10/100 Ethernet. Over Ethernet, the printer supports Bonjour (Apple’s zero-configuration networking technology). The C5800Ldn ships with drivers that support Mac OS X, and it even works with Intel-based Macs running OS X 10.4.5 (even though Oki’s Web site says it doesn’t).
The 5800Ldn does not include PostScript. But unless your work requires PostScript for jobs such as printing EPS logos, you’re unlikely to notice its absence.
What you will notice when using the C5800Ldn is the printer’s ability to reproduce smooth, photographic images. Color gradients also printed smoothly with no obvious banding. If you’re a Photoshop user, you’ll be happy to know that the included ICC color profiles really help with color accuracy. The driver includes advanced color tools that allow you to change your workspace color temperature.
Black text was very sharp and easy to read, even at small point sizes. The one area where this printer could improve is its printing of colored text—especially from PDFs, where its output was a little uneven and faint in spots. It almost looks like the colored text doesn’t print at the same resolution as the black text. Also, some of the individual colored toner showed through in combination colors and grays when it shouldn’t (for example yellow specs showed up in green text). With more accurate colored text printing, this printer would definitely be at the top of its category.
|10-page Word test||0.:44|
|1-page Word test||0:22|
|22MB Photoshop image quality||1:14|
|Graphics—Fine lines, gradients||Very Good|
|22MB Photoshop image quality||Excellent|
|Text quality||Very Good|
Scale= Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unsatisfactory)
|Print Resolution||600 dpi|
|Connection||10/100 Ethernet; USB 2.0|
|Paper Sizes||up to 8.5 x 13 inches|
|Installed RAM/Max RAM||128MB / 320MB|
|Cost to replace ink/ toner carts||$284 ($50 for black per 2k pages; $78 each for C-M-Y per x color pages) 5k carts available - $108 black and $165 each for C-M-Y.|
|Weight (in pounds)||57.3|
|Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches)||16.7 x 22.1 x 13.6|
|Special Features||Automatic duplexing; Bonjour capable|
Macworld’s buying advice
The Oki Data C5800Ldn is an inexpensive color laser with many thoughtful extras like ICC color profiles and automatic duplexing— features not found in many competing products. It produces great looking photos and excellent black text. Unfortunately, its colored text printing was not as clean as its black text or as the color text from its competitors.
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]Oki Data C5800Ldn