B401 Mono Printer wins PC Pro Recommended Award
"Supreme speed, combined with good print quality, makes this a cracking mono laser for sensible money."
Compared to the more petite mono laser printers on the market, Oki's chunky B401d looks like it means business, and it has the specifications to match. With a 30,000-page monthly duty cycle, it’s more than capable of surviving life in the busiest of small offices.
At the rear, the USB 2 port is joined by a parallel port (if you want Ethernet, buy the B401dn – it’s currently retailing for the same price), and there’s a basic two-line LCD panel on the unit’s top fascia.
The replaceable drum unit is a surprise at this price point, and the sizeable chassis conceals an internal 250-sheet paper tray, as well as a manual tray for printing on thicker card and envelopes.
The B401d is quick, even beating its claimed figures. We recorded an average of 31.6ppm across all our tests, 9% faster than the quoted rate of 29ppm. In automatic duplex mode, the B401d’s 16.7ppm almost keeps pace with some of its budget rivals in single-sided mode.
Long-term running costs are favourable, too. Thanks to toner cartridges that last 2,500 pages, and a print cost of only 2.2p per page, the savings soon mount up.
For print quality, the Oki delivers a cracking performance. There are no issues at all with text quality: characters are laid down with pinpoint accuracy. Images lack the bold, strong blacks of other printers we've tested, and there’s some banding, but the reward is detail. Contrast is the best of any laser unit here, with almost perfect greyscales, and the B401d’s prints are finely detailed. If quality is key, the Oki’s ProQ setting reduces banding significantly, but drops the speed to 16.7ppm.
The B401d is a fantastic all-round performer, delivering top-quality prints quickly and for sensible money. Prices have dropped substantially since our initial review (it originally retailed at £104), and with a reassuring three-year warranty included as standard, it’s an absolute steal.