With fast print speeds and high recommended monthly print volume, the Oki C6000n is clearly a printer for small work groups. For $700, you get a well-equipped, network-ready printer that produces great text and so-so graphics. (You’ll have to pay an additional $150 if you need a built-in duplexer.) If you don’t mind slightly slower print speeds, we recommend the cheaper Lexmark C530dn: it provides both built-in networking and a duplexer as well as better print quality for $200 less. And if print speed is a higher priority than print quality, consider the Dell 3110cn: for $500, you get speeds on par with the Oki C6000n, though the Dell’s print quality failed to impress us.
The Oki C6000n is a behemoth of a printer, deeper than it is wide or tall, owing to the horizontal orientation of the toner cartridges. It stands 17.1 inches wide, 13.4 inches tall, and 24.3 inches deep, and weighs more than 57 pounds. (The C6000dn weighs a bit more, due to the built-in duplexer.) The putty-colored body is all business, seemingly designed to melt into its surroundings.
Paper handling on the C6000n is straightforward. It comes standard with a 300-sheet input tray (can hold legal-length paper) and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, which folds out from the printer’s front panel. The multipurpose tray has a built-in arm that swings out to support long paper. If you need another input tray, the optional 530-sheet tray will set you back about $185. The well in the top of the printer holds the outputted sheets.
The control panel is basic, consisting of just a backlit, two-line text LCD, menu navigation buttons, and buttons to cancel a print job and take the printer offline. The menu options are easy to understand and peruse. The usage menu, in particular, is useful, as it clearly tells you how much life is left in the various consumables, such as toner, drums, fusers, and belt.
The Oki C6000n comes in two configurations: the $700 network-ready C6000n and the $850 C6000dn, which adds in an auto duplexer (we tested the C6000n for this review). Both ship with a 500MHz processor and 256MB of RAM (upgradeable to 512MB). The C6000n series supports both Mac and Windows PCs and can be connected locally via USB or to a network via Ethernet.
When it comes time to replace the toner cartridges, be prepared to spend some cash. The 5,000-page black cartridge costs $110 and each of the 4,000-page color cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow) costs $170. This works out to per-page costs of about 2.2 cents for a black page and about 15 cents for color. The print costs are in line with most printers in this price range, though the Dell 3110cn’s per-page costs are lower. The Oki 6000n has a monthly duty cycle of 55K (that is, the maximum recommended number of prints per month), making it a good choice for work groups with high-volume print needs.
The Oki C6000n is one of the fastest color laser printers we’ve tested–appropriate, as it’s also one of the more expensive ones. It zoomed through black prints, spitting out text pages at a rate of 23.46ppm and graphics at a rate of 22.51ppm. It slowed down quite a bit for color pages, though its speeds were still in line with or ahead of the competition: 14.78ppm for color text and 13.60ppm for color graphics. The comparably priced HP Color LaserJet 3600n printed black text at a pokier 13ppm and black graphics at 12.9ppm; its color text and graphics speeds were on par with those of the Oki C6000n. The C6000n’s chief competitor, based on CNET Labs’ tests, is the cheaper Dell 3110cn; it kept pace with the Oki, printing black text at 23.7ppm, black graphics at 22.6ppm, color text at 12.4ppm, and color graphics at 13.3ppm. (However, the Dell produces fast prints at the cost of print quality.)
The Oki C6000n’s print quality was uneven–it excelled at text prints, but had some issues with graphics prints. The black text was clean and sharp, though we would’ve liked a darker black. The color text was also of high quality, with sharp edges, consistently formed characters, and well-mixed colors (we saw little of the crosshatching that often plagues colors). The black graphics print suffered again from a lack of blackness. It did a commendable job with a grayscale, but photographic details were a bit muddied. The color graphics print showed banding in a grayscale gradient, smooth curves, and a pleasing color saturation, though the colors tended toward ruddiness, particularly in skin tones. Again, we were unhappy with the depth of the black ink. Overall, we preferred the print quality of the $500 Lexmark C530dn.