A colourful green printer for the office

I always like the unexpected when reviewing products. When I opened the box for the Kyocera Mita FS-C5020N Ecosys printer, lo and behold the first thing I see is the first thing I need — the instructions. It amazes me to this day that not every manufacturer does this. It is a simple, yet logical thing to help the user right away, instead of forcing a hunt throughout the box to find the paperwork.
The first impressive thing about this $2,495 600 dpi colour/monochrome workgroupprinter is its footprint. At 13.6-in. wide, 18.5-in. deep and 15.2-in. high, it fits easily on a desk leaving the user with ample room for monitor, keyboard and other things.
At first the packaging of the toner cartridges was an annoyance. You can only take out one at a time instead of getting at all four freely.
But its actually a clever strategy. The black, yellow, cyan and magenta cartridges are packed so users can only install them in that order, ensuring that mistakes such as mis-matching toner cartridges does not happen.

No more toner troubles
Another clever feature is the toner waste bottle, a clear plastic bottle that slips into the side of the unit where all the toner goes into after use. This makes for easy disposal.
Installing the unit was very easy and fast. However, the machine does not come with the proper cabling such as USB, parallel interface and network interface (Ethernet) cable. I can understand not including the Ethernet cable, but the other two should be standard with the printer.
The Ecosys printer can house 600 pages (500 sheet drawer + 100 sheet MPT). After installation it has a pretty simple colour registration settings procedure. This is very important if you want sharp colour documents.
The software install was quick and gives the user options of installing recommended components. Since this is networked workhorse printer I found this option to be smart because printer manufacturers should not dictate to users what components should or should not be installed. Plus it saves on disk space.
The first document it turned out was crisp-looking. It was a standard letter but it seemed that the black type jumped right out.
The next print was a difficult full colour photo of a flower arrangement, and the Ecosys printer did not fail to produce a lavish looking image in seconds.
Kyocera claims the printer can print 17ppm, and our test showed that it hit that number in a minute and 13 seconds.
This 48.6-lb. printer use a PowerPC750CXr/400MHz CPU and what it lacks in speed it makes up for in quality.
In terms of cost, the printer (6.5 cents per page) looks to be a winner because it does not use cartridges-based page printers, consumable costs can easily exceed more than three times the original purchase price during the life of the product. Its toner costs are said to be one-third that of competing brands.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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