One of the main features to warrant the price of the Kyocera Mita FS-3540MFP is its high print speed. The company claims it can print at 40ppm, but our five-page text print only returned a speed of 15ppm, though the text and graphics page managed 16.7ppm. When we upped the page count to 20 pages, however, the speed increased to 24ppm.
The main reason we saw slower prints than the spec sheet suggests is that the machine takes 20s or so to process each document and start to print. This time isn't included in the ISO testing process. 24ppm is still a good throughput rate, so you shouldn't be hanging around for print or copy jobs.
In fact, we saw a single-page copy from the flatbed come through in 9s and a five-page document from the ADF still only took 15s. Even a 10-side document, copied fully duplex, completed in 53s. A 15 x 10cm photograph printed on an A4 sheet took 22s from a PC and just 19s from a USB drive. The touchscreen displays the files available to print.
The quality of print from this machine is generally fair. Text output is clean and easy to read, though a little lighter than some. In Ecoprint mode, which uses less toner, text is noticeably lighter again, but still perfectly usable for internal documents.
Greyscale graphics are on the blotchy side, but there's a good range of tones, so you can easily distinguish different colours in an original. Our test photo print showed slight banding in areas of tone and lost detail in the darker greys, which tended to black.
Kyocera Mita scores well when it comes to print costs, as the only consumable is toner and the high-capacity, 15,000 page cartridge is competitively priced. We calculate a cost per page of 1.3p, including 0.7p for paper, which is lower than virtually any other printer available at a similar price.
This is a well-designed business workhorse, with all the facilities you're likely to need and a good range of expansions, particularly when it comes to paper handling. Even so, and with the convenience of its large touchscreen, it's quite a pricey piece of kit for a monochrome multifunction. Once you've laid down your money, of course, the very low running costs will replenish your budget in the following years.