Okipage's price and output are well-balanced

Okipage's price and output are well-balanced

By J.B.Miles

Special to GCN

Workgroup laser printers vary so much in price and features that they resist head-to-head comparisons.

A matchup of Brother International Corp.'s relatively low-end, 17 page-per-minute HL-1660e and IBM's high-end, 40-ppm Infoprint 40, for example, won't reveal much except that they differ greatly in speed, features and price. But both could be a good buy, depending on your budget and printing requirements.

No printer can be all things to all users; virtually every one listed in this Buyers Guide has features I like and some I dislike.

Rich features

That said, I recommend a careful look at Okidata Corp.'s Okipage 24DXn. It's the flagship model of Okidata's fairly extensive fleet of high-performance, reasonably priced laser printers. It lists at only $1,869, which is surprising considering its rich set of features.

A powerful, 120-MHz Mips R4700 32-bit processor provides 24-ppm performance at 600 dots per inch, which can be software-enhanced to 1,200 dpi for graphics.

It comes standard with 32M of RAM, expandable to 80M. It offers drivers for Microsoft Windows 9x and NT, MS-DOS and most other operating systems, as well as for Hewlett-Packard's Printer Control Language 6, Epson FX, Adobe Postscript Level 2 and IBM ProPrinter III XL print languages.

The best thing about this unit is that it offers both duplex printing and a built-in OkiLAN 10/100Base-T Ethernet internal print server.

These features provide out-of-the-box functionality for both simplex and duplex network printing.

I like the Okipage 24DXn's 1,169-sheet capacity, which can be expanded to 1,790 sheets. It's not as large as that of some other printers, but it's adequate for most print jobs.

The 24DXn and Okidata's other printers employ an array of LEDs instead of a laser. This creates faster warm-up and shorter times to printing the first page than standard laser units.

Like all printers, it isn't really capable of its ppm rating, which is 24, but it offers a decent alternative to slower 17- and 18-ppm units for not much more cost.

Limited toner

What don't I like?

First, each of its toner cartridges is good for only 5,000 copies. Okidata's cartridges cost only about $40, but that can prove expensive in the long run.

Second, the 24DXn's duty cycle is only 65,000 pages per month, which can add up to high maintenance costs. I would prefer a printer with a 130,000- or 150,000-page duty cycle.

Third, the 24DXn handles a limited number of paper types, with a maximum size of 8.5 inches by 14 inches.

And I'd like to see more advanced paper management capabilities, such as a collator and stapler. But how can I seriously quibble about this for a unit costing less than $2,000?

All told, for speedy workgroup service with mainly text print jobs and light- to medium-duty requirements, the Okipage 24DXn would fit the bill.

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