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The quality of prints from the machine depends on what you want them for. Text print is very good indeed; sharp and precise with no noticeable spatter and well formed characters. Solid colour for business graphics is also fair, though in our sample prints there was some mis-registration between block colours and overlaid black text.
Our colour photo print sample was none too good, with noticeable dither patterns and an overall fuzzy look to the finished image. It's probably good enough for a positional proof, but you wouldn't want to use it in a brochure or customer document. It's getting to the point now where many business applications require colour photographic reproduction, so to say ‘not suitable for graphics professionals’ isn't really a suitable let out.
As with all Kyocera Mita printers, the only consumable is toner. The standard cartridges offer 6,000 black pages or 4,000 colour ones, though the printer comes with ‘starter’ cartridges offering 3,000 and 2,000 pages, respectively. Is it really necessary to provide partly filled cartridges in a machine costing over £500?
Assuming the standard cartridge fill rates and the cheapest prices we could find for Kyocera Mita toner and including 0.4p for a sheet of plain paper – as we always do – gives running costs of 1.67p and 7.04p for 5 percent black and 20 percent colour pages. These figures are good, but not the lowest we’ve seen recently. Dell’s 3110cn, which also uses a lifetime transfer belt and fuser, beat the FS-C5015N on both counts, for example, with corresponding figures of 1.42p and 6.36p.
With the monochrome lasers we’ve tested from Kyocera Mita, there's little argument over the cost of ownership. With only the toner to consider, they are very cheap to run. Things are not so clear-cut with this colour machine. Although, again, toner is the only consumable, it doesn't produce exceptionally low running costs, because of the price of the toner cartridges themselves.
Some aspects of the printer, such as its large paper capacity and well-written software, work in its favour, but others, such as its patchy status display and long warm-up time, act against it. It's a good machine, but this is a heavily competitive market and it doesn't stand out.