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New Oki C710 30ppm colour laser printer gets lost in the pool

Issue #0727/1 – Coming in a little higher up the performance scale than the colour laser printers featured in last week’s article, , Oki’s 30ppm C710 colour laser printer was also released on 1st September. Falling into a larger workgroup category, the C710 is one of the few fast A4 colour laser printers on the market. Because there are so few colour printers at such high speeds, this group effectively has to span a wide speed bracket, from 30ppm to 40ppm, in order to make sense of performance, pricing and Total Cost of Printing comparisons.

Like most of its competitors, the C710n is network-ready out of the box and has duplex capability as an option. In fact, only Hewlett-Packard takes the view that a network interface may not be required by users in this league. Its Colour LaserJet 4700 is the only printer here not to include either network interface or duplex unit as standard features. At the opposite end, Dell’s 5110cn stands out in this respect with both network and duplex provided as standard.

Oki 710dnOki 710dn

Dell’s 5110cn is also one of the faster printers in this group, at 35ppm in colour, largely due to the fact that this is a Fuji Xerox engine and the same engine as Xerox has used in the Phaser 6360. However, Xerox has reserved maximum performance from the engine for itself – colour print speed is 40ppm, the fastest A4 colour print engine on the market.

Lexmark, also noted for its ability to produce fast laser engines, has achieved 33ppm in colour from the C780, while the three other printers content themselves with 30ppm – making a 10ppm, or 33% speed difference from bottom to top of the group.

  Print Speed
(ppm)
Paper capacity
(sheets)
Input
Sources
Network
Interface
Duplex
Printing
Mono Colour Std Max Std Max
Dell
5110cn
35ppm 40ppm 650 2,150 2 4 Standard Standard
Hewlett-Packard
CLJ 4700dn
30ppm 30ppm 600 2,600 2 6 Optional Optional
Konica Minolta
magicolor 5570D
30ppm 35ppm 600 1,600 2 4 Standard Optional
Lexmark
C780dn
33ppm 38ppm 600 1,100 2 3 Standard Optional
Oki
C710dn
30ppm 32ppm 630 1,690 2 4 Standard Optional
Xerox
Phaser 6360dn
40ppm 40ppm 700 2,350 2 5 Standard Optional

It is in paper handling that we see the biggest variance in the offerings, however. Although standard input capacity ranges only from 600 to 700 sheets, with all machines offering multipurpose feed as well as main feed handling at least 500 sheets, maximum paper capacity ranges from just 1,100 sheets right up to 2,600 sheets.

Oki’s new C710 offers an acceptable, middle-of-the-road capacity, at 1,690 sheets from four sources. This is very closely aligned to Konica Minolta’s magicolor 5570 but falls a long way short of Hewlett-Packard’s maximum capacity of 2,600 sheets from six sources.

Interestingly, paper handling is slightly different between the two Fuji Xerox engines. While Dell’s model will accept 2,150 sheets from four feeds, Xerox’s will take 2,350 sheets from five sources.

It is Lexmark’s C710 that falls short most significantly in its paper handling flexibility. Not only is the maximum capacity only 1,100 sheets but also the number of input sources is limited to three.

Apart from paper handling, there is little in the basic performance specifications to differentiate any of the competing models in this category. All are PCL and PostScript 3 capable and four of the five (including Oki) also offer PDF Direct Print – it is an option for Xerox’s Phaser 6360 range, except with the top of the range DX model, and Dell’s 5110 is the only model not to offer PDF Direct Print.

However, the C710 scores one differentiation point with its ability to print banners up to 1.2m long. In addition, by adding a hard disk drive, the C710 will provide Secure Print, Secure Erase and Data Encryption.

Dell 5110cnDell 5110cn

Moving on to purchase prices, providing networking and duplexing as standard features does not mean that the Dell 5110cn is better value at purchase, which is what one might have imagined from Dell.

For both Dell and the group as a whole, purchase price bears little relationship to print speed. The purchase price of the Dell 5110cn actually falls above the average price for the group (by 5%), with the Lexmark and Oki network/duplex models costing about 13% less than the average to buy.

Surprisingly, it is Konica Minolta’s magicolor 5570D that tops the bill on hardware purchase price, at 15% above average and 33% above the Lexmark C780dn and Oki C710dn.

Purchase Price – A4 Colour Laser Printer

Network/Duplex Capable


Note that all prices used to create charts this article are based on the lowest street price in Euros (including tax) – sourced in Germany.

Lexmark C780dnLexmark C780dn

From the price-performance perspective, we must first note that the higher-speed models, Dell and Xerox, are not the most costly in any respect. They are not the most expensive to buy, they do not have the most expensive supplies and, therefore, they are not the most costly to own and run. But the degree to which this is true depends heavily on the page volume expected of the printers over their life.

Not so the Lexmark C780dn, however! This model (typically of Lexmark) has the lowest purchase price in the category but the highest supplies costs. Therefore (again, typically for Lexmark), the C780dn works out as being the most expensive in the long-term by a significant margin at some page volumes.

Total Cost of Printing – A4 Colour Laser Printer

Network/Duplex Capable


Note that for this level of machine, the mixed mono/colour CPP over three years shown in the accompanying chart is calculated on the basis of 5,000 pages per month; 70% pages in mono and 30% pages in colour; is based on the use of maximum capacity supplies; takes into account any standard, or starter, supplies shipped with the device; and also includes the cost of purchase. All prices are lowest street price in Euros (including tax) – sourced in Germany.

Xerox Phaser 6360DNXerox Phaser 6360DN

At 5,000 pages per month for instance (see bar chart above), the margin between the Xerox Phaser 6360DN and the Lexmark C870dn is narrow (6%). If, however, we consider long-term cost at other page volumes (see line chart below), we can see that 5,000 pages per month is actually the point at which the margin between the Phaser 6360DN and Lexmark C780dn is at its lowest, apart from one specific low volume point where the low purchase price of the Lexmark is more significant and there is an additional maintenance schedule just performed on the Phaser.

If we allow for much higher page volumes, up to 7,500 per month, we see that the margin between the Phaser and the Lexmark widens to nearly 17%.

Oki’s position on Total Cost of Ownership for the C710dn closely tracks that of the Phaser 6360dn. Purchase price is highly competitive in the group, while supplies costs are around average and close to those of the Phaser. Overall, this ensures that the C710dn is attractive as a purchase but Oki is able to recover some profit on the low purchase price through ongoing sales of supplies without pricing the printer out of the game.

Total Cost of Printing – A4 Colour Laser Printer

Network/Duplex Capable


With a purchase price that is on the high side of the average, along with the Dell model 5110cn, Hewlett-Packard’s Colour LaserJet 4700dn is the one that stands out as unusual in the long-term Total Cost of Printing stakes.

Even though it’s toners are not rated as the highest capacity in the group by any means, the nominal Cost Per Page in colour is actually the lowest in the group (but only just), allowing it to compete hard with the Dell 5110cn on Total Cost of Printing over the full period of ownership.

Hewlett-Packard Colour LaserJet 4700dnHewlett-Packard
Colour LaserJet 4700dn

For organisations with much higher percentages of colour printing in their hard copy profiles, the cost advantage of running either the Dell 5110cn or Hewlett-Packard Colour LaserJet 4700dn would become even more significant than seen above compared to the other printers in the group.

By pushing the balance of mono to colour printing to 30% mono and 70% colour, instead of 70% mono and 30% colour, the chart below shows us the huge benefit of selecting one of these lower cost models. It is built using the average Total Cost of Printing for the Dell and Hewlett-Packard printers shown against the average Total Cost of Printing for all four of the other printers together, at each page volume.

Total Cost of Printing – A4 Colour Laser Printer

High Mono vs. High Colour Page balance


In fact, at this mono/colour page balance, the Hewlett-Packard Colour LaserJet 4700dn becomes the most economical printer in the entire group – better than the Dell 5110cn at all page volumes!

At the end of the day, there has been relatively little comment about Oki’s new C710 specifically because it does not differentiate itself adequately, there is too little to make it stand out from the crowd, whether considering specification or Total Cost of Printing.

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