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The C6100dn from Oki Data is a color laser printer designed for small to midsize workgroups. The two letters hanging off the end of its name refer to the printer’s auto-duplexing and built-in 10/100BaseT Ethernet networking features. Toss in PostScript 3 compatibility, fast print speeds, and great looking printed pages, and you’ve got a full-featured printer that won’t break your budget.
Setting up the printer is easy, but at 57 pounds, it's heavier than many compact color lasers, and you’ll probably need a little help getting it out of the box and placed where you want it. It's also a little longer front to back because the toner cartridges are installed one in front of the other. The benefit of this design is that it facilitates a straight-through paper path, which helps avoid paper jams while allowing you to print banners as long as 46 inches.
The C6100dn also ships with a large software package, which includes various ICC (International Color Consortium) color profiles and utilities that allow you to both tweak color settings and monitor printer usage by user.
After installing the cartridges and the included software, my Mac instantly recognized the printer via Bonjour and auto-selected the proper driver. The printer is PostScript-compatible (it ships with a PostScript 3 clone) and has its own CPU and 256MB of RAM (upgradeable to 768MB) to process complex jobs. I wasn’t surprised to see its speedy results in our Photoshop and PDF print tests, but the C6100dn also turned in impressive results in our one- and 10-page Microsoft Word tests.
Using the built-in duplexing capabilities to print a 10-page document on both sides of five sheets of paper took longer than printing 10 individual sheets, but the speed was still impressive, taking just 54 seconds—faster than many color lasers take to print a single-sided document.
Of course, speed is only impressive if the printed output looks good. No worries there, either. The Oki’s prints looked great, with pleasing color, especially in photographs, so it would be perfect for printing color brochures. The C6100dn’s graphics prints were also very good, with unbroken fine lines and smooth color gradients. Black text was excellent—clean and very legible, even at small point sizes. Unfortunately, color text quality wasn’t quite as good, with some colors (green for example) appearing to be a little lower in resolution and a little jagged when carefully examined.
|10-page Word test||0:29|
|1-page Word test||0:13|
|22MB Photoshop image quality||1:06|
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
|Graphics—Fine lines, gradients||Very Good|
|22MB Photoshop image quality||Superior|
|Text quality||Very Good|
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
|Print Resolution||1,200 x 600 dpi|
|Connection||10/100 Ethernet/USB 2.0|
|Paper Sizes||Letter, Legal, Banners up to 8.5 x 47.2 inches|
|PostScript Version||PostScript 3 emulation|
|Installed RAM /Max RAM||256MB / 768MB|
|Cost to replace ink/ toner carts||$507 ($90 for black per 6,000 pages; $139 each for 5,000 C-M-Y)|
|Weight (in pounds)||57.3|
|Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches)||13.4 x 22.1 x 17.1|
|Paper capacity||300 (plus 100 in multi-purpose tray)|
|Special Features||Automatic duplexing; Bonjour capable, PostScript 3 (clone)|
Macworld’s buying advice
If you’re in the market for a color laser printer, the Oki C6100dn has a lot to offer small and midsize workgroups. It offers great looking prints, built-in duplexing, quick print speeds, and easy network connectivity.
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]Oki C6100dn color laser printer