Middling speed and lower print quality dampened the C752n's overall rating. Text remained legible down to small point sizes, but graphics pages lacked detail in complex patterns, and washed-out colors marred some images. Both text and graphics speeds hovered around average.
The C752n falters when it comes to cost. Its consumables are among the priciest to replace over time; only its twin, the IBM Infoprint 1354n, and the severely marked-up Sharp AR-C200P charge more. Despite many strong attributes, other printers in the roundup offer a better deal.
Oki Data C7300n
Among entry-level color printers, only the Oki Data C7300n offers the dashing Xerox Phaser 6250N real competition. What you lose in performance and panache, you gain in a few key features and in overall cost efficiency.
Bean counters should love the C7300n. Its $1,900 purchase price is the lowest in the roundup. Although lower-capacity starter cartridges will hasten your first round of replacements, consumable costs still come in lower than the Phaser 6250N's.
Inside the boxy design you'll find a capable office printer with a high monthly duty cycle and maximum paper capacity. Text comes out quickly and looks crisp. Color samples printed somewhat slowly and showed minor flaws, but photos generally looked good.
The entire top of the printer opens like a clamshell to reveal the toner cartridges. As a result, the Oki Data C7300n requires more overhead clearance than most printers -- at least two feet.
Printed setup and reference guides could use more careful proofing, but they and the CD-based manual cover the setup and use of the printer thoroughly. The management utilities -- particularly the Web-based PrintSuperVision and the Job Accounting software -- were nicely designed and useful.
LED printers like the Oki Data C7300n may never get as much respect or awareness as their laser-based competition, but this one deserves attention. Although its pokey color speed drags it down, it's the only other basic color printer we can recommend besides the Xerox Phaser 6250N.
Oki Data C9500dxn
Oki Data's C9500dxn is pumped up for power printing. It has a whopping 320MB of memory; a high 150,000-page monthly duty cycle; and a generous maximum paper capacity of 2,850 sheets. A 10GB hard drive came standard on our unit, as did internal duplexing. On specs alone, it trumps its twin, the Xerox Phaser 7300DN. But when the toner hit the paper, the Xerox did more with less.
Text printed on the Oki Data C9500dxn came out quickly and looked clean even at small font sizes. Presentation slides showed a little banding in areas of gradated color, and color photos looked good despite some moiré. But pages chugged out slowly. The Phaser 7300DN printed faster and achieved equally good quality.
Despite its somewhat clunky control panel, the C9500dxn is easy to use and its clamshell cover offers easy access to consumables. All doors and trays work well. A few typos and minor errors marred the otherwise thorough, well-written documentation. Among a small suite of management utilities, Oki Data's Web-based PrintSuperVision and Job Accounting software stood out as well-designed, full-featured products. Unfortunately, the Phaser 7300DN's user-friendly control panel and incredibly sophisticated CentreWare management tools steal the show.