Pros - Separate toner and drum makes for higher quality toner refilling
- Printer can email you (IT office) when ink is low
- 10K cartridge (but must purchase separately)
- No Desktop Software!!!
- Standard Duplex
Cons - No easy way to reset toner chip, must buy new chip if refilling on your own
Summary -- Reviewing from an IT for business perspective (Using with Windows) --
We use refilled ink in our office, so I decided to try the B431DN since the toner and drum are a two piece design. Most printers have an integrated drum built into the cartridge. If you always use new OEM cartridges, this is not a problem. However, on refilled cartridges, the drum gets degraded every time you transport it to refill. This left us with cheaper ink, but lines on the paper. The B431DN solved that!
We purchased seven (7) of these printers for our small office, and they work great. Rather than sending them out to be refilled, I am now just refilling myself. The toner cartridges are very easy to refill. You simply turn the cartridge upside down, turn the toner unlock lever, pour the toner in, lock it back, and wipe with a static cloth to remove any extra. It takes me about 3 min to refill a cartridge, and costs me around $25 for a 10K toner refill and chip. Since the drum is a separate piece, it never leaves the printer.
Another great feature I love is the built-in email server. From the web management page of the printer, I set up each one to email me when the toner is low. This allows me to change out the cartridge without the end users ever having to call me.
While CNET mentioned lack of desktop companion software as a negative, I personally think that is a positive. I cannot even begin to count the number of issues I have seen because of HP desktop printer software. If nothing else, it almost always slows down the PC. Having said that, it should be noted that I am reviewing from a business perspective. As an IT professional, this is the printer I would use at home, not necessarily the printer I would tell my IT challenged friend to buy. As a network printer, the driver installs quickly, works well in a virtual environment, keeps a small footprint, and is everything I look for in a business class printer.
My only complaint is that the toner cartridge does not have a resettable chip. They are very easy to replace, but I could save an additional $9 on each refill if the printer had an option to reset the chip. I would also highly recommend upgrading to the 10K cartridge instead of the pre-installed 2K starter cartridge. Other than that, I am exceptionally happy with my decision to go with the B431DN. It has lots of options, standard NIC and duplex features, is fairly small, very fast, and just works!
Pros Fast with good paper capacity. Small size is good for desktops.
Cons None I have seen.
Summary Outstanding value in its category, comes with duplexing and network.
Pros New unusable printers at great financial loss !
Cons OKI lies. No driver upgrade to OS X 7, as promised, after 5 months.
Summary You cannot count on award winning OKI Printers for any support ! The company lies.
A series of dead OKI B431dn Printers sit in my medical office after 5 months.
Pros 10K Toners, Speed comparable to similar model, Easy for users to replace toner
Cons Expensive Drum to Replace, Toner not widely sold, Toner cost isn't better then other machines.
Summary I have about 30 Brother printers and we decided to look at our next default printer as Brother discontinued the model we use. One of the IT guys did a cost analysis of the Oki B431 and all looked well. The problem, he didn't factor in bad reliability and expensive drums. We purchased 8 of these printers. After 2 months of minor usage 1 of the printers suffered a bad drum after about 400 prints. That is the drum causes lines to be printed out on the document. Well our documents are legal documents so lines are not acceptable. I did the normal procedures of changing out the toner, cleaning the printer, but the lines continued. To my dismay the Drum cost almost as much as the printer when it was on sale, and even when not on sale it is almost 50% of the cost of the printer. I know drums are expensive, but this is also a printer that costs $400 and the drum hits the same price of $1,000 printers by competitors. Either way 1 failure could be a fluke and we purchased a new drum for almost $200. This then fixed the problem. Come 6 months and 4 of the machines are down due to the same issue. So out of 8 machines purchased 5 of them had drum failures and none of them came any where near high usage. The end result is that these printers work well when the product works, but there is a flaw with the drum design. Either way it will cost us more time and money to warranty the machines, spending hours on the phone and shipping the defective machine to them for analysis. I can't seriously sit here and waste my time or my company's money waiting for answers. I also need an office in working condition. Oki data are not cost effective. Do you research and add in replacement drums and toners over the life of the product. If the original decision were mine to make, i would not have purchased these printers based on cost, but now i'm afraid to even hear from our staff that they are having an issue with the last 4 Oki's. I'm basically buying new printers that are the equivalent to the Oki's in everyway, but for the cost of the Oki drum. Buyer beware!
Pros Prints fast and pages are crisp and neat
Cons Toner is very expensive and so are drums. It will tell you to replace the drum before it is worn out (still printing perfectly) and will not print any more until you do so.
Summary I searched for hours to find a way to reset the drum counter on the B431 but it still remains a secret. Other Okidata printers have been solved but not the B431.
All printer manufacturers are trying to lock the customer into buying their overpriced ink/toner/drums. They'd like to void the warranty for using any supplies other than their own but they can't because of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Section 102(c) of that Act expressly prohibits inclusion of a tie-in sales provision in any warranty as follows:
No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service . . . which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name... .
I don't know why some ambulance-chasing lawyers haven't slapped lawsuits on all these printer manufacturers that are including chips (namely - all of them) in their consumables that force you to use only their products and force you to change them before you even need to.