It can be very useful to have a printer in your office that produces pages larger than A4. The most obvious use is if you're producing an A4 newsletter, where you can print page spreads in one job and fold them down. If the printer can duplex pages, it makes it even simpler. Kyocera Mita's FS-6970DN can do both.
The company has styled this A4 mono laser printer to fit in with the rest of its new range and it has the same simple, but functional, looks. Coloured in black and cream, a deep indentation in the top cover takes the printed pages and you only need to flip forward the extra paper support when printing A3. A4 pages print in landscape mode, anyway.
The control panel uses a 2-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display with the usual collection of control buttons; a four-way ring encompassing an OK button, and others for Menu, Start Print and to Stop a current job. Behind the display, Ready, Data and Attention lights are raised up on a small ridge, so they can be more easily seen from a distance.
Navigating the printer's menus takes a little concentration, as Kyocera Mita has chosen to select options with the right arrow key in the navigation ring and to flip through them with the up and down arrows, which is the opposite way round to most other printers.
At the bottom of the front panel is a 250-sheet paper tray and a 100-sheet multi-purpose tray folds down from above this. 250-sheets is too low a capacity for a machine intended for workgroups and, although you can add up to five more 250-sheet trays, it should be able to take more by default.
Below the control panel is a USB drive socket and you can print PDF files directly from a stick, as a walk-up function. At the back are sockets for USB, 10/100 Ethernet and a legacy parallel connection.
The ceramic drum, a Kyocera Mita hallmark, is rated at 300,000 pages, so even in a busy office, it probably won't need replacing over the life of the machine. The only consumable is therefore toner and a 7,500-sheet cartridge is provided with the machine. This plugs-in very conveniently under its top cover and the machine then goes through a 10 minute charging cycle, before it's ready to start printing.
There are drivers available for all versions of Windows since 95, for OS X and for certain varieties of Linux and these are comprehensive, covering all the features of the printer.