So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Kyocera Mita Ecosys FS-C5025N
- Low running cost, compact design, USB 2.0 and 10/100 Ethernet, fast performance
- Low resolution of 600dpi means that images will look rough around the edges, colours were a little dull
Large volume colour printing is very affordable with this unit. It's compact and easy to physically set-up and use, and it's very fast, but its print quality in colour mode is by no means perfect.
Price$ 1,538.00 (AUD)
For offices where space is at a premium, but large volumes of colour output are needed, Kyocera Mita's Ecosys FS-C5025N is a good option. It's fairly compact compared to other colour laser printers on the market and easy to maintain.
The top of the unit lifts up to expose four toner cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow), which each have a stated initial lifespan of 4000 pages at 5 per cent page coverage. Replacement cartridges will provide up to 8000 pages, which at a cost of $182 for each colour and $103 for black, means that colour prints will cost at least eight cents per page, which is excellent.
In its standard configuration, the Ecosys ships with a 500-page, built-in paper tray, USB 2.0 and 10/100 Ethernet ports, and has PCL6 and PostScript-compatible emulation. It has good specifications for a small office printer, including 128MB of RAM and a 500MHz processor, so it won't get bogged down by big jobs, nor a large number of jobs when it's set up on a network, which can be expanded to 640MB.
We used the printer as a stand-alone device in a Windows Vista environment. Via USB 2.0, the printer was detected straight away by our system, but we weren't able to use the auto-run routine of the supplied driver disc to install the drivers. Instead, we had to manually navigate to the driver folder and execute the setup file from there. The driver has many options that can be installed along with it, and it's worth installing them all so that you can get all of the printer's benefits.
These benefits include the ability to save toner by printing at up to three-quarters density or at half density, in order to save on toner, and also the ability to print multiple pages on one page in a booklet style, so as to save paper. A duplex unit isn't part of the standard package, but one can be purchased separately. Another cool feature is scaling, which allows pages to be printed at a smaller size on the page in order to save ink.
While it's a colour laser printer, don't expect stellar photo quality results. Nor is it meant to be used for printing photos. Indeed, printed images lacked detail and looked rough around the edges. However, text was crystal clear and not overly dark; colours were acceptable for the most part, but gradients and colour spectrum showed visible stepping. It's well suited for printing out brochures, reports and text documents, and it'll print these jobs swiftly, even if plenty of colour is used. We measured the printer's output at 13 pages per minute (including 6sec for the first page out), using a document with pages full of text and an assortment of graphs. In general, prints were quick off the mark. Most documents started to print within 7sec.
Also, don't expect it to be quiet. The fast performance of this printer requires fast paper feed mechanisms to go to work, and when they do go to work, they make a noticeable racket. It's best not to install this printer next to anyone's desk.
As for power, our measurements showed the unit to consume 6.48W when in sleep mode. Consumption fluctuated constantly while printing: at different points during print jobs, we observed consumption figures from 450W to 550W and a peak of 888W. Nevertheless, Kyocera has been at the forefront of environmental friendliness in the printer industry for many years and this printer continues that tradition. Its consumption figures are actually slightly lower than other compact colour laser printers we've tested and Kyocera has eliminated hazardous materials (including lead) from the manufacturing process. The printer also wears an Energy Star logo, which it earned due to its power consumption and paper saving features (which includes the optional duplex unit).
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