Oki printers use an array of LEDs instead of a moving laser beam to create a printed page. But its B4400n monochrome LED printer has more to it than this technical difference: it's fast, well built, and generally well designed. Unfortunately, the Oki B4400n is also a little expensive for what you get.
The Oki B4400n is one of the better performers in this class. It printed plain-text documents at 28.8 pages per minute (ppm), and graphics at 8.9 ppm. The printer's toner seems to be more charcoal-colored than true black, which detracts a bit from overall quality. This was especially apparent in photos, which looked a little yellowish and grainy, though nicely shaded otherwise. Text looked delicate and precise, but a little light.
Many low-end lasers sacrifice design for price, but the Oki B4400n generally doesn't. We didn't like the control panel--LEDs with icons instead of words for labels; on the other hand, it was easy to reach the toner and imaging drum through the top panel. The 250-sheet, letter/legal input tray is surprisingly sturdy, but it has minimal markings for adjusting width and length. The legal-size paper extension still fits within the printer's footprint. For thicker media, open the manual-feed tray from the front and the rear exit tray from the back. At this price, the one thing we miss is automatic duplexing-especially when a few cheaper models do include it; at least the Oki B4400n's manual-duplex prompts are very helpful.
The Status Monitor is another friendly aspect of the Oki B4400n. It starts as an icon in Windows' System Tray and simply changes color from blue (all's well) to yellow (problem). Double-click it, and a small window pops up to show more detailed status and tabs for accessing the driver, the setup utility, or operational statistics.
The Oki B4400n has middling cost of consumables. It ships with a standard 3000-page toner supply; replacements cost just under $40 for a 3000-page unit, or about 1.3 cents per page. The imaging drum lasts 25,000 pages and costs $199, or less than a penny per page.
We installed the Oki B4400n via USB (parallel and Ethernet are also included in this model). The setup poster is largely wordless but pretty easy to follow, although sometimes the illustrations lacked detail. The included CD can also install network management tools (which we didn't try) and the PDF-based user guide, which is fairly thorough and well written.
Oki's B4400n deserves credit for its performance and its sturdy design. Even the seemingly ho-hum monochrome printer category has hot competition, though, and other printers offer as many or more features for less money.