A colour laser printer can be the perfect solution for home offices that print a high volume of colour documents. Available for around £270, the Oki C3600 is network-ready and prints at an impressive speed compared with its rivals, but it's larger than most printers and lacks fancy extras such as a full-colour LCD screen or wireless print server.
Design and features
We're not very impressed with the C3600's design, but we've never been too taken with laser printers in general. The matte white C3600 measures 371 by 290 by 478mm and weighs approximately 21kg. We wouldn't call it a behemoth, but it's larger than the , which measures only 389 by 244 by 312mm. The C3600 also weighs about 9kg more than the CLP-315W, so people with limited desk space will probably be happier with a more compact machine.
You'll find all the ports you need to connect the printer to your computer on the back of the chassis, including a USB and an Ethernet port for networking across multiple systems. One useful feature absent on the C3600 is a front-mounted USB port for connecting PictBridge-compatible cameras or direct printing from a USB flash storage drive.
Since it's only a single-function laser printer, there aren't many extra features, but we commend Oki for including a 400MHz processor and a hefty 128MB of memory, which lets the C3600 handle bigger print jobs than the competition. You can even upgrade to a maximum of 640MB of memory.
The C3600's cyan, magenta, yellow and black toner cartridges are individually separated and sit directly underneath the top cover, lined up in a horizontal row. The printer ships with 'standard' capacity cartridges. According to Oki, the black cartridge will last for 1,500 pages and each of the three colour cartridges will last for 1,000 prints. A replacement black cartridge costs around £35, while replacement colour cartridges cost around £55. Oki also offers high-capacity cartridges that can print 2,500 black pages (around £50) or 2,500 colour pages (around £70). The recommended monthly duty cycle for this printer is 35,000 pages, which is more than adequate for small businesses.
The C3600 fared well in a direct output speed comparison with three other colour laser printers. It came second best in all of our tests, just behind the Brother HL-4040CN, a similarly priced single-function laser printer. It printed black text at almost exactly the same speed as the HL-4040CN, producing 15.61 pages per minute, compared with the HL-4040CN's 15.66. It couldn't keep up with the Samsung CLP-315W in the colour presentation test, but it's safe to say that you won't be waiting too long for any document using this printer.
The C3600 also performed well in all of our print-quality tests. Black text looked as good as we expect from a laser printer, with bold line formation and smooth gradation along font size scales. The C3600 also handled our graphics text admirably, showing excellent signs of colour separation and sharp image distinction, even in some of the subtle blending detail. As expected, some of the images looked slightly smudgy and pixellated, but the general print quality across presentations, graphics and simple text strengthened our overall impression of this printer.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Colour graphics||Presentation||Colour text speed||Black text (ppm)|
The Oki C3600 is fairly large and heavy, and it doesn't boast a plethora of features. It does, however, produce high-quality prints at a swift rate, making it one of our favourite colour laser printers.
Edited by Charles Kloet