So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Kyocera Ecosys FS-1325MFP multifunction laser printer (mono)
Kyocera puts a lot of emphasis on efficiency and economy, rather than print quality
- Relatively compact size
- Easy install and maintain
- Built-in duplex unit and automatic document feeder
- Print quality isn't dark enough or sharp enough for professional tasks
- Lots of paper curl
Kyocera's latest black and white Ecosys printer offers lots of simplicity and some good built-in features, but its print quality isn't great.
Price$ 429.00 (AUD)
The Kyocera FS-1325MFP is a mono laser printer, colour scanner, colour photocopier and fax machine all rolled into one unit, and it's pitched at the home office and small business markets. It can be used via USB or Ethernet, and it's quite simple to set up and use. Don't expect good output though.
If all you want out of a multifunction printer for your office is quick, draft-quality prints and maximum efficiency, then the FS-1325MFP is made for you. The average print jobs that we tried clocked just over 23 pages per minute, which is almost bang-on the 24 pages per minute that Kyocera touts for this printer in its specifications sheet. That rate included a first-page-out time of 18sec from the moment we hit the print button on our Windows 7 computer. We used USB for our tests, and it's worth noting that, like many printers, it doesn't ship with a cable, so you'll need to have one lying around or buy one separately.
What enabled the printer to go so fast in our tests was its 'eco' mode setting, which is designed to prolong toner life by lessening the quality of the output. The output is very grey under 'eco' mode; it looks a little too pale and, at times, unreadable. Those we asked around the office said that they would never willingly use 'eco' mode on anything they actually wanted to read comfortably. We could see it being used to print receipts, though, and one person in the office mentioned that it might be good to print out 'fill-in-the-colours' sheets for children, or in schools to print out sheets that young children can then trace to practice lettering.
In regular mode, the output is better, but far from great. It still looks too pale, but the bigger issue is that it seemed to be quite inconsistent in its quality. In some of our prints using italicised text, the tops of the letters 'x' and 'y' weren't rendered properly, while in others the saturation level for round letters didn't seem to be enough (even after we played with the density setting). Basically, if you're after dark, crisp results from a laser printer, the Kyocera FS-1325 won't give them to you. This printer will only offer draft-like quality, even at its 'high' quality setting.
Physically, the Kyocera doesn't take up much space on a desk, and it's suitable for offices that don't have a lot of room to offer. Despite it having a scanning bed and automatic duplexing, it's a printer that's only about 370mm tall, 350mm wide and 470mm deep (including the space needed for the power plug). The power and data cables protrude at the rear of the printer.
Setting up the printer couldn't be simpler: it has only one consumable that needs to be installed, and that's the tiny toner cartridge at the front. It ships with a starter that's good for 1000 A4 prints at 5 per cent coverage, but the regular cartridge does 2100 sheets (TK-1129). Below it is the paper input tray, which can hold up to 250 sheets. Its guiding mechanism is a little hard to use at first, because you have to squeeze and lift it to widen it for A4 paper. The paper curls up through the printer in a 'C' shape and arrives in an output tray that's hidden from view under the scan bed. It started pushing pages to floor after about 90 of them had been printed in our tests.
Because of the curved paper path, pages tend to come out looking curled and a little worse for wear. That, along with the pale output ensures that this printer shouldn't be considered if you want to make prints that you will be presenting to clients, or even to lecturers, if you're a student. There is a built-in duplex unit that works automatically to print on both sides of the page, and this is a nifty feature for those of you want to save paper in addition to being conservative with toner.
The automatic document feeder atop the machine is useful for scanning multi-page documents, or you can use the scan bed for single sheets and for scanning from books and magazines. The quality of the scanner is passable, but not great. You can scan directly from the printer by pressing the scan button on the control panel, but for this to work, the supplied Kyocera client software needs to be running on your PC. The scanner can also be used for photocopying, and it's worth noting that for multi-page jobs, the printer didn't start printing until the scanning was complete.
Performance isn't really what the Ecosys 1325MFP is all about. It's mostly about being environmentally conscious, and, as such the printer has been designed to have as few consumables as possible. It's drum and imaging units are designed to last for the life of the printer, and the only thing you'll need to change now and then is the toner and the maintenance kit (the kit is good for 100,000 pages). It goes to sleep very quickly when it's not in use, and it consumes about 2.9W when it's in this mode — it also wakes almost immediately when it's time to print. Typical power usage during a print is around the 355W mark, with momentary peaks hitting about 695W in our tests.
We'll sum it up by saying that the Kyocera Ecosys 1325MFP is a basic multifunction printer for basic tasks that you should consider only if quality isn't your primary concern, and if you want something that will give you lots of economy instead. The printer costs $429 and its toner costs $89 (for a per page cost of 4.2 cents per print at 5 per cent A4 coverage). It has a duty cycle of 20,000 pages per month.
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