Kyocera FS-C5250DN review
Kyocera’s laser printers have always held a big advantage over the competition thanks to their unique ceramic drum. It’s claimed to be 10-15 times harder than the more prevalent organic photo conductor drums, and is therefore capable of lasting the life of the printer.
Toner is therefore the only consumable, so Kyocera routinely has some of the lowest printing costs on the market. The FS-C5250DN typifies this: at 5% coverage it will churn out a mono page for a little over a penny and a colour page for only 6.2p.
The printer ships with half-full starter cartridges, however, so you’ll be flashing the cash quicker than you might expect. But it comes with a two-year on-site warranty as standard, and Kyocera guarantees the drum and developer for three years or 200,000 pages.
Paper capacity can be boosted by augmenting the standard 500-sheet lower tray with four more 500-sheet feeders. The printer also accepts a hard disk for storing fonts and frequently used jobs, and it can print directly from USB sticks. Kyocera’s memory upgrades are more sensibly priced than most, with a 1GB stick costing £251 exc VAT.
Putting the printer to work, we found the claimed 26ppm speed to be achievable across a range of print jobs, from a standard A4 Word document to our challenging 24-page DTP colour document.
The driver only has settings for the finest quality, mono mode and a draft EcoPrint mode. However, it provides a set of default print layouts so you can select booklets, posters, anything up to 25-up prints and duplexing. Double-sided print speeds were reasonable, with our 26-page test document completing at a rate of 14ppm.
Output quality is good enough for general business use, with colour graphs and charts reproduced cleanly and free from banding. Text across a range of font sizes was pin-sharp, although mono photos lacked detail in darker areas and revealed a slight blotching effect. Our performance chart showed no discernible stepping across complex colour fades, which translates to clear colour photos with good levels of detail.
Our only criticism is that on standard copy paper our photos appeared pallid and lacked punch; this can be remedied to some degree by using heavier grade paper, which Kyocera’s toner seems to prefer.
Walk up and print operations worked well: after plugging in a USB stick, the backlit display panel offers options to print a contents list or to scroll through and select a file for printing. Kyocera supports PDF, XPS, TIFF and JPEG file formats for these operations.
All this sounds excellent, but it pays to look at both running costs and the initial purchase price. Konica’s magicolor 3730DN costs about £150 less to buy, has an integrated duplex unit and is only 2ppm slower than the FS-C5250DN. Its print quality is actually slightly better, too, but Konica’s ongoing running costs are more than double that of Kyocera’s FS-C5250DN.
If you have high print demands, the Kyocera FS-C5250DN is a more sensible business choice. Its low running costs long term, plus good speed and quality, make it a fine all-rounder.
Author: Dave Mitchell
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