Things used to be more straightforward - inkjets were cheap flyweight devices that could pop out a few pages before pausing for a rest, while laser printers were huge industrial products that needed at least half a room in which to operate.
But with some of today’s inkjets proving altogether meatier, it was only a matter of time before we set eyes on a truly compact laser printer. So then, Oki’s petite Oki B2200 laser printer is hardly a surprise.
Not that the Oki B2200 is exactly going to blow away in the wind. Its 4.8kg weight suggests it still has plenty of heft behind it, and you could give it a good knock or two without putting it off its stride. But the Oki B2200 is undoubtedly smaller and far from obtrusive. The Oki B2200 is fairly quiet too, with none of the gurning and churning sounds that make up the typical laser printer's soundtrack.
But the Oki B2200 is not only small, but very well priced with it – even today, sub-£100 laser printers are few and far between.
You probably won’t be surprised, then, to find out that the Oki B2200 isn’t the most fantastically specified laser we’ve seen. The 1,200x600 resolution is decent but the 8MB of memory (and that’s the maximum) is hardly outstanding.
The Oki B2200's 150-sheet input is adequate – and the paper handling is more robust than on a typical inkjet, so you really will get close to 150 sheets – but only 30 pages of output means you won’t be able to feed this printer a huge job and go away to let it get on with the job.
The Oki B2200 is GDI, so it relies more on the PC itself than in the case of more standard laser printers. In operation, we found the Oki B2200 to be rather erratic, sometimes taking 15 or 20 seconds to get started with the first print, and sometimes romping away within a couple of seconds of pushing the print button.
We were getting somewhere between 13 and 16 pages per minute from most of our print jobs – short of Oki's stated 20ppm, but actually still a pretty good turn of speed given that this is attainable at the Oki B2200's highest quality setting.
Text was fairly sharp and easy to read, and will put many a similarly priced inkjet to shame. Mono lasers are never really ideal for graphics, but photos were competently handled by the Oki B2200. It’s not the cheapest of lasers to run but again, given the cost, this is hardly a shock.
We like the Oki B2200. It certainly produces very decent text at a much faster rate than most inkjets. It’s also highly compact and, dare we say it, quite sweet to look at. More a workpony than a workhorse, it’ll nonetheless be a good buy for those who want to produce quality text on a budget.