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Kyocera Mita FS-1350DN
Kyocera makes a lot of good laser printers, from SOHO single-function devices through to departmental multifunction machines with all the trimmings. The FS-1350DN sits nearer the bottom end, but is still quick and expandable, certainly in terms of paper handling.
It's a neat, square-cut machine, coloured in Kyocera Mita's usual cream and black and with a modest footprint for a machine in this class. The top surface is slightly sloped towards the front with an indent forming the paper output tray allowing for substantial print jobs to fall into its well.
On the right is a well laid-out control panel, with a ring of menu controls around an 'OK' button and two, large coloured buttons for Stop and Go. A 2-line by 16-character LCD display sits behind the controls and three small indicators - for Ready, Data and Attention, are set above the surface of the printer, to be seen from across an office.
Just to the side of the control panel is a USB port, designed for walk up printing of documents from USB drives. The positioning of the socket is better than on previous models, where it was at the back, but to be picky, we'd still prefer to see it at the front.
There's a 250-sheet main paper tray at the bottom of the machine and a fold down, 50-sheet multi-purpose tray above this. The spec sheet on the Kyocera Mita website claims this is single-sheet, but the downloadable datasheet has it correctly. You can add a further two, 250-sheet paper trays as options and a cabinet to set it all on.
The FS-1350DN comes as standard with USB and 10/100 Ethernet, with Gigabit and wireless networking available as options.
Kyocera Mita's patented hard coating ensures the drum is likely to be a lifetime component, so the only thing you need fit is a toner cartridge. This clips in very easily under a flip-up flap at the front of the machine and then performs a one-off charge cycle, which takes around 20 minutes.
Software installation is just as easy though, unusually, the setup routine expects you to have connected your printer before starting. Windows' Install New Hardware wizard has never really worked as intended, with printer makers usually wanting to handle the setup themselves and asking you to cancel the wizard when it detects a new printer. A shame Microsoft and the printer makers can't work out an elegant hand over to make it easier for customers.
Kyocera Mita installs both PCL 6 and Postscript Level 3 drivers in emulation, which should cover most installation requirements. The company also provides support for Mac OSX and various flavours of UNIX and Linux, as well as all recent versions of Windows.