Colour is more and more the standard for workgroup printing in modern offices. Although these printers aren't cheap, they're fast and very versatile. Kyocera Mita's FS-C5400DN may be an odd-looking beast, but it offers most of the facilities needed for office print.
And it certainly is a strange shape. It sits very high off the desk, even though its in-line colour laser mechanism sits horizontally inside the case. The front section of the printer, which includes the control panel, offers a large drop from the paper exits slots onto the output tray on its top surface. This means substantial print jobs can be run unattended.
The control panel is a great example of good design, with a bitmapped, backlit LCD display, which has room to show plenty of status information at a time. The diamond of menu navigation buttons works as expected to navigate sensibly-conceived menus and you also have direct access to displays of toner and paper levels.
The paper tray at the bottom of the front panel can take a full 500 sheets of paper at a time and a pull-down, multipurpose tray offers an additional 150-sheet feed.
At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet, but for some reason the USB drive socket, useful for walk-up print, is also positioned right at the back of the left-hand side of the machine. Why it's not on the front panel, where it would be far more convenient, is beyond us.
The photoconductor drum is a lifetime component and uses Kyocera Mita's patented ceramic coating, so should be good for 300,000 pages. This means that the only components you need to add to set the machine up are the four toner cartridges. Although these have half the yield of the standard replacement components, you're still talking about 8,000 black pages and 6,000 in colour.
The software CD supplied with the machine didn't appear to contain the driver for the FS-C5400DN, but only for the earlier FS-C5200DN and FS-C5300DN models, but it was available from the Kyocera Mita support site and offers both PCL 6 and Postscript Level 3 in emulation. We tested with the Windows XP drivers, but support is also available for OS X 10.2 and above, and for UNIX and Linux in various configurations.