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Oki MC860 – A3 colour “at the price and in the size of conventional A4 MFPs”?

Issue #0903/1 – With the launch of its new A3 MFP, the MC860, Oki boldly claims “A3 colour at the price and in the size of conventional A4 MFPs”. This statement obviously leaves a number of questions open regarding exactly what comparison is being made. So, we take a look and find out exactly where the MC860 sits in relation to other colour MFPs on the market – both A3 and A4.

“For the price of” could easily mean: buying the machine; buying toner for the machine; or running the machine. Taking the statement to its logical conclusion, it could even be perceived as meaning that I can print A3 pages for the same cost as A4 pages – because there is no indication of what page format is referred to.

Oki MC860 compact sizeOki’s MC860 is a
compact A3 MFP

Before investigating the price and costing angles, let’s just dispense with the size issue. The MC860 is an extremely compact device, built on the engine used in Oki’s C830 A3 colour LED printer. Although this is an A3 device, it is still only rated as a 2-man lift – weighing only 68kg in its basic configuration. In terms of physical dimensions, the base dn version measures 56.5cm wide by 65.8cm deep, giving it a footprint of 3,718sq cm, bettered only by the Xerox solid ink device of the most-direct A4 competitors featured here. Thus, the fact that the MC860 is compact is not in question.

Moving on to price and cost:

Firstly, there is the purchase price – and this is where Oki’s claim is targeted. Its purchase price on the street starts at just €3,160 (Germany) and the median price for the cdtn version that we use for our Total Cost of Printing comparisons here is only a fraction over €3,500.

So, a brief look at the chart below shows that the MC860cdtn is priced at a point right at the bottom end of the price range for four-function A4 colour MFPs of a similar print speed. The only A4 device to fall below the price of the MC860cdtn is the twin paper feed version of Xerox’s solid ink Phaser 8560MFP! Lexmark’s X782e costs about 13% more (median prices), while Hewlett-Packard’s CM4730f is about 32% more expensive at purchase.

Purchase Price – Oki MC860cdtn A3 vs A4 colour MFP

Inevitably, the first cry to rise will be “but that is not a like-for-like comparison”.

But, remember that only the Oki device is an A3 device, with a hardware purchase price that really is on a par with, or even lower than, similar A4 devices. Even though the A4 devices have duty cycles that are higher than the MC860, its recommended average monthly duty cycle of 10,000 pages means that it should be well able to cope with the tasks thrown at it by all but the most demanding of business and enterprise office environments and that it can easily be considered to be a very suitable alternative for a number of reasons.

CLJ CM4730
Phaser 8560MFP
A4 Print speed – mono 30 ppm 38 ppm 34 ppm 30 ppm
A4 Print speed – colour 30 ppm 33 ppm 26 ppm 30 ppm
Duty cycle 175,000


Duplex Standard Standard Standard Standard
Base model paper feeds 3 4 2 3
Base model paper capacity 1,100
Max paper feeds 3 4 4 4
Max paper capacity 1,100

With an A4 print speed of 26ppm in colour and 34ppm in mono, the MC860 compares reasonably well, despite the colour print speed being a little lower.

All these models are duplex as standard. However, the MC860 again demonstrates its flexibility and suitability for a wide variety of print environments, with a base paper capacity of just 400 sheets from two sources, while allowing a maximum paper capacity of 1,460 sheets from four sources.

HP CLJ CM4730MFPHewlett-Packard Colour
LaserJet CM4730MFP

This compares very favourably with the CM4730 and X782e, both of which have a fixed number of sources and sheets, contributing to their high initial hardware purchase price.

Although both Lexmark and Xerox machines both feature a slightly higher maximum paper capacity than the MC860, it is only the Xerox that demonstrates a flexibility of paper capacity to compete with the MC860, meaning that it is only these two that have the ability to grow with a growing business. They can both be installed as desktop or floor standing devices. In the case of the MC860, with its A3 print format, this is little short of remarkable.

Lexmark X782eLexmark X782e

Certainly, at this price point, A3 toner-based multifunctionality is much more affordable to far more organisations than previously and those upgrading to colour MFPs from mono devices or single function devices are now in a position to consider A3 colour when they might previously have had to settle for A4 or mono.

So, it really is possible to buy an A3 colour MFP in the Oki MC860 for the price of an A4 colour MFP – or less.

Xerox Phaser 8560MFP-ATXerox Phaser 8560MFP-AT

What of the cost of toner and Total Cost of Printing then?

For organisations that require mono printing as the primary function, the MC860 does not actually look brilliant. Its nominal mono CPP is some 53% higher than the CM4730 and about 28% higher than the X782e and Phaser 8560.

Note that prices for Extra High Yield Return Program cartridges have been used throughout for the Lexmark comparison. Use of standard cartridges would push both nominal CPPs and long-term Total Cost of Printing up by a considerable margin.

However, for those with a primarily colour requirement, the MC860 cannot be beaten. We see a nominal colour CPP that is lower than any of the A4 models – by at least 6.5% (CM4730) and by up to 26% (Phaser 8560).

Total Cost of Printing – Oki MC860cdtn A3 vs A4 colour MFP

Note that for this level of machine, the mixed mono/colour CPP over three years shown in the accompanying table is calculated on the basis of 10,000 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; any maintenance items required and also includes the cost of purchase. All prices are median street price, sourced in Germany, and include tax.

By the time the cost of consumables, maintenance items and hardware purchase have all been injected into the equation, to produce a figure for Total Cost of Printing, all four models fall within an relatively tight band – with a differential of less than 15% between the most costly and the least costly machines and with the Oki MC860cdtn falling right in the middle. Remarkably, it is Lexmark’s X782e that is the least costly, essentially because of the high capacity cartridges (15,000 pages each) available with a Return Program prebate. As a business volume printer, the X782e fits directly into one of Lexmark’s primary target markets.

Oki MC860cdtnOki MC860cdtn

These figures are all, of course, calculated for printing A4 pages! When it comes to printing A3 pages, at double the size, users should reckon on the nominal CPP being double that of an A4 page. Therefore, there is absolutely no question of Oki’s claim for A3 at the cost of A4 meaning that A3 pages can be printed for the same cost as A4 pages.

How then, does the Oki MC860 compare to the range of comparable A3 MFPs currently available in the market – two of which are somewhat faster?

Here we see a very much lower hardware purchase price for the MC860 than for either Hewlett-Packard or Lexmark products. Oki claims that the MC860 is half the price of Hewlett-Packard’s CM6030f but, when comparing comparable configurations, i.e. the MC860cdtn, the price differential is not that great. The MC860cdtn is approximately 42% less expensive to buy than the CM6030f but is a massive 65% less expensive to buy than Lexmark’s X945e.

Kyocera’s new TASKalfa range looks to be a fascinating new addition to the market but, because it is still brand new, and primarily targeted at contract sales, pricing is still a little sketchy. However, just enough data is available to determine that it is going to be surprisingly inexpensive to buy, with the TASKalfa 250ci coming in with a purchase price only about 35% higher than the MC860cdtn and significantly less than either Hewlett-Packard or Lexmark models.

Purchase Price – Oki MC860cdtn vs A3 colour MFP

Please note that certain assumptions have had to be made in order to arrive at an approximation of hardware price and Cost of Printing for the Kyocera TASKalfa 250ci, meaning that the figures shown in both charts here are approximations and may be subject to change as more information becomes available.

Kyocera TASKalfa 250ciKyocera TASKalfa 250ci

Oki’s MC860, therefore, presents itself as an extremely attractive entry model for those seeking a move into A3 format printing, copying, scanning and faxing, particularly considering its flexibility of configuration. There are four models available, ranging from the network and duplex-ready MC860dn with a paper capacity of 400 sheets, through the MC860cdtn with an extra 530-sheet paper feed, to the MC860cdxn, which adds two extra 530-sheet feeds, taking the capacity to a maximum of 1,460 sheets from four sources.

This leads us into the Cost of Printing, where we find that the new TASKalfa device has such a low nominal colour CPP, together with its low hardware purchase price, that even the slightly less-than-aggressive nominal mono CPP cannot prevent it being the best value A3 MFP by at least 45% (CM6030f) and by up to 60% (Lexmark X945e).

For Oki, the toner pricing has been set in such a way that mono printing is very much more costly than on any of the other three machines. The low cost of colour toners counterbalance the high cost of mono toner to present a colour printing cost that is very much in line with the Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark devices.

Total Cost of Printing – Oki MC860cdtn vs A3 colour MFP

Note that for this level of machine, the mixed mono/colour CPP over three years shown in the accompanying table is calculated on the basis of 10,000 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; any maintenance items required and also includes the cost of purchase. All prices are median street price, sourced in Germany, and include tax.

Overall, this brings the MC860 into a reasonably comfortable position for Total Cost of Printing, falling closer to the lower-cost CM6030f than the high-cost X945e. As it is such a flexible device, targeted largely at A3 newcomers and small businesses, it is not surprising that the MC860 costs more overall than the CM6030f – nor that it costs so much less than the Lexmark device, of course.

So, the MC860 is a competitive printer, even if it is viewed as an A4 only device. The ability to print A3 pages is an added bonus that users, essentially, are not paying for. As soon as they start printing A3 pages, the toner used increases but the value of the pages printed also increases at least proportionately and offers a superb opportunity, particularly where the production of marketing collateral is concerned.

Bearing in mind that the Oki MC860 is a very compact and flexible device, suiting small businesses right up to large enterprises, with the ability to grow with the organisation from a low-cost entry point, Oki should be onto a winner here. The only area in which it stands out as not being competitive is the cost of mono printing when compared to other A3 MFPs. But, where a larger proportion of pages are colour pages, this drawback will be largely irrelevant.

Oki’s claim to be presenting “A3 colour at the price and in the size of conventional A4 MFPs” is absolutely justified – even to a sceptic.

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