We should stress that we test all printers in normal print mode, as we continue to believe most owners use their printers primarily for normal print and only occasionally switch to draft mode, if and when they remember. It's therefore misleading for manufacturers to keep quoting print speeds for draft print, even if prefaced with the words ‘up to' in the publicity.
Some companies, noticeably Canon, have done the decent thing and started quoting both draft and normal print speeds. We wish all printer makers would follow suit. We might then get out of this spiralling print-speed war, which is providing increasingly meaningless numbers.
The quality of the printed output is crisp and clean, as the FS-1100 has a default print resolution of 1200dpi. It's easily good enough for correspondence and for report text in customer documents. Business graphics are generally well reproduced, too, though if anything greyscale tones are a little light, in comparison with other mono lasers we've looked at recently.
Tinted fills are reasonably smooth and this shows well in photo prints, too. We saw more shadow detail here than from many mono lasers and the graduated fill of the sky in our test shots changed smoothly, though there was some evidence of slight striping.
Kyocera Mita's patented long-lasting photoconductor drum should last the full life of the printer, so the only consumable is the toner cartridge. You might think this would keep the running cost very low, but it depends on the prevailing price of the consumable. We couldn't find it for less than £46.86 which, with a 0.7p cost of paper, gives a page cost of exactly 2p.
While this is low, it's not the lowest we've seen and even last week's Canon inkjet all-in-one (PIXMA MP970) gave a lower running cost for black print. If you look at overall cost of ownership and the maintenance involved in keeping this printer running, though, the cartridge's 4,000-page capacity should keep it low.
The FS-1100 is another well-designed, very serviceable personal laser printer from Kyocera Mita. It's not that easy to see any great improvements over previous models, though. A little bit faster and a little bit better looking, but this is one of those machines you buy and use week-in, week-out, without getting excited about new technology…and those print speeds need to be taken with a very healthy dose of scepticism; think half the speed and you won't be far out.