First look with the new OKI MFPs

by Reads (3,377)

OKI Data Americas was in New York City this week showing a select few of the newest additions to its multifunction printer lineup, each targeting small and medium-sized workgroups.

MB700 series
First up was the MB700 series, which comes in three configurations: the MB780, MB790, and the MB790f, with the latter two models sporting a four bin/100-sheet mailbox and 50-sheet stapler finisher, respectively.

Immediately, the MB780’s nine-inch color LCD touchscreen jumps out, as this the only new OKI MFP that features a color touch display. The icons are large and discerning, and the navigation is extremely fluid and simple. One complaint I’ve long had regarding the multi-function printer at the TechnologyGuide home office is that the menu is convoluted and unintuitive. Perhaps OKI was listening.

The MB780 series also features an open API, meaning applications to expand functionality are on their way. One example OKI marketing director Carl Taylor provided was an application geared toward education, enabling the MB series the ability to scan test results. Taylor claimed we should see available applications “within a few months.”

The MB780 printers also feature 802.11 n Wi-Fi, a feature Taylor claimed business users are starting to request more and more, especially as security concerns abate in the face of new and more secure data standards. Also factoring into the push are cost concerns. As Taylor bluntly explained, for a new or expanding office, it’s much easier to install wireless than it is to rewire.

MC361 and MC561
I can’t remember the last time I glanced at a printer’s inner components and said, “Wow, that looks cool.” But, that exactly what I told OKI senior marketing Mike Garofola when he opened up the MC361 and pulled out the yellow toner cartridge in approximately three seconds flat. My main take away from my time with the MC361 and MC561 was that like the MB780, they too are simple to operate, and they look neat to boot.

Again, I hearken back to my experiences with my office printer, but the reduced number of components OEMs like OKI are using on devices is serving not only the green purpose and the aesthetics of minimalism, but also working to make day-to-day maintenance and operation much simpler.

As for the MC361 and MC561 features, two jump out. One is Color Access Policy Manager, which allows IT the ability to set color printing rules on a number of levels, including by user, application, or computer. For example, IT could restrict color printing to only PowerPoint files, or the art department. It can also be set to dictate color printing from a specific URL, like an on-demand printing intranet site, a feature that may work well in a retail environment for in-store signage promoting weekly deals.

The MC361 and 561 also impressed with their banner printing ability, which those in education or retail could put to good use. The multipurpose tray can be used to print color banners up to 52-inches long. While Garofola’s example was a US history timeline, I immediately thought of the growth chart that tracked my height elementary school. Of course, retail outlets could easily take advantage of the functionality.

Not Flashy, Reliable
SMB and enterprise printers often lack the flash of consumer devices like the novel HP eStation 510 or Canon’s Pixma series featuring HD Movie Print, but they are typically designed for reliability and cost savings, perhaps the two most important traits small and medium-sized business demand. OKI is certainly aware of this, but they seem to have added some very functional and useful features to boot.

PrinterComparision will most definitely evaluate and rigorously test these new models to see if OKI is on track.



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