OKI Data's Single-Function Laser-Class Printer

OKI Data's B412dn Prints Pages Quickly and Inexpensively

OKI Data B412dn
OKI Data B412dn Monochrome laser-class LED printer. OKI

OKI Data’s LED-based monochrome laser-class printer, the B412dn, is the smallest and least expensive printer available—well, at least in terms of purchase price, anyway. Just as the previous single-function B432dn and B512dn models—as well as multifunction versions like the MB492—impressed us, so did this little B412dn, especially where it counts: print quality, performance, and cost per page.

Design and Features

There’s nothing particularly striking about the B412dn; it’s a short, squat box about 15.2 across and 14.3 inches from front to back, and stands only 9.6 inches high—or plenty low enough to reside beneath low-hanging shelves or cabinets. As small as it is, and considering that all it does is print, at 26.8 pounds, it’s also well-built and well-reinforced inside.

Out-of-the-box, you can connect to the B412dn via Ethernet or a USB printer cable. Wi-Fi, on the hand, is optional, by way of a $75 upgrade module.

Since all the B412dn does is print, it doesn’t require much a control panel to speak of, either. It has no memory slots for PC-free, or walk-up, printing, and mobile connectivity is limited. However, without the Wi-Fi module, what little mobile device connectivity the B412dn does support is unavailable. Those mobile features include: Apple’s AirPrint, Google’s Cloud Print, and OKI’s Mobile Print app for Android, but they don’t include Wi-Fi Direct, Near-Field Communications (NFC), and several other functions described in this About.com “Printing from Your Mobile Device” article.

Performance, Paper Handling, and Print Quality

OKI rates the B412dn at 35 pages per minute, or 35ppm. During my tests, I was able to get very close to that, as long as the documents consisted only of black text, and that the text itself was formatted in fonts already loaded in the printer’s ROM. When I loaded the documents with graphics, photographs and colors (which, of course, are converted to grayscale), though, it slowed down considerably—down to about 5ppm, which isn’t bad at all for an under-$200 laser-class device.

As for paper handling, the B412dn has a 250-sheet drawer upfront, near the bottom of the chassis. Located just above that, you’ll find a 100-sheet multipurpose (also known as override) tray, for a total of 350 sheets. If that’s not enough, though, for an MSRP of $229 you can get a second tray that holds up to 530 sheets, for a grand total of 880—from three sources. Now that’s versatility.

As monochrome laser-class printers go, this one prints well enough, with clear, near-typesetter quality text (At least at normal type sizes. Real small type, say, around 6 points or so, could have been sharper and darker.) Otherwise, aside from this somewhat small flaw, the B412dn’s print quality looked good, with not-so-bad-looking grayscale and monochrome graphics and images.

Cost Per Page

To get right to the point, when you use the highest-yield (7,000 pages) toner cartridge available for this printer, your cost per page should run you about 1.8 cents. (Although I have found the cartridges on third-party sites for less than on OKI’s—for a CPP down around 1.6 cents.)

We should point out, too, that after the first 30,000 pages (and each subsequent 30K pages thereafter), you must replace the print drum, which runs about $150 from OKI (or $20-$30 less if you shop around). Depending on how much you pay for the drum kit, it’ll tack on another half cent or less to each page you print. In any case, the B412dn’s CPP is quite competitive, especially for inexpensive a laser-class printer.

The End

OKI has done something with it latest round of laser-class mono machines that eventually all laser printer makers will have to do—lower the cost of using their printers. Printer buyers are not stupid, after all—especially not if they read this column. Frankly, though, if mono laser-equivalent output is what you need, unless this OKI just isn’t high-volume enough for you (in that case, the OKI Data makes others that probably are), I can’t think of a reason not to buy this printer.