- Decent print quality
- Relatively quiet running
- Slightly high running costs
- Only 250-sheet main tray
- Can't place sensibly near walls
- Review Price: £170.00
- Wi-Fi and LAN connection
- Front-facing USB
- Easy-fit toner cartridges
- 50-sheet mult-purpose tray, 250-sheet paper tray
- Lifetime photoconducter drum
What is the Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw?
If this Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw is anything to go by, colour laser printers are improving in a couple of ways: they’re getting cheaper to buy and print quality is improving too. This device is intended as an individual or small workgroup machine and has the advantage of USB, network and wireless connections.
Related: Best printers to buy right now
Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw – Design and features
Decked out in a white case with a jet-black top, it will sit comfortably on a desktop – and printing is quiet enough not to be a disturbance when doing other things. The top surface is home to a simple control panel, although control – as with many laser printers – comes primarily from the software driver. Kyocera’s driver isn’t out of the ordinary, and handles all the necessary functions for a laser printer.
There’s also a simple, 16-character, backlit LCD panel, which provides status information. It comes into its own when printing from the front-panel USB port, where it will display filenames from which you select to print.
The front panel folds down to provide a robust, 50-sheet multi-purpose feed and below that sits a 250-sheet paper tray. In my opinion, this capacity is too small for most SOHO (small office, home office) machines, although an optional second tray is available.
As with all Kyocera printers, the photoconductor drum is designed to last the life of the machine, so the only consumables are the four toner cartridges. These slide in behind a cover on the right-hand side of the printer and are simple to replace. Perhaps not quite as easy to work with as a printer where the cartridges load from the front, though; you can’t, for example, position the machine with its right side next to a wall.
Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw – Print quality and running costs
Kyocera rates the Ecosys P5021cdw at 21ppm for both mono and colour print. My tests show that this is optimistic, since the five-page black text document gave 13ppm; even the longer, 20-page version produced only 16.7ppm. While these speeds are certainly respectable, and quite a bit quicker than a colour laser would have achieved even five years ago, there are plenty of inkjets that could give the P5021cdw a run for its money today.
The printer can produce duplex pages as standard and achieved 10.3 sides per minute on Trusted‘s10-page duplex test. The five-page text and colour graphics test returned 9.7ppm, so a little slower than the mono equivalent, and a 15 x 10cm photo took just 17 seconds from a PC. An A4 photo from a USB drive took the same time – a good result.
The print quality of our test pages was excellent, with clear, sharp black text and clean, solid colour fills. There’s a good range of tones, which was highlighted in the photo print sample. While not the brightest of images I’ve seen from a laser printer, the colours look more natural than many and suffer less from the reduced colour gamut so often seen with lasers.
The printer works impressively quietly, at a measured 57dBA at 0.5m. This isn’t loud enough to be distracting, even if the printer is sitting on the desk beside you.
Perhaps this printer’s biggest downfall will be its total cost of ownership, with Kyocera following the trend of more expensive lasers. The cost per page calculated using the high-yield versions of its cartridges is 3.3p for a mono page and 16.1p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper.
Compare this with, for instance, the £190 HP LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw, with costs of 2.7p and 10.4p for mono and colour pages, respectively.
Should I buy the Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw?
The £170 price of this machine puts it in the mid-range of home and small-office machines, but there are others, such as the HP LaserJet Pro M252dw that are in direct competition. That machine includes NFC connection for direct print from mobile devices and a scanner for copying.
Still, if you want a quality laser printer without feature overload that can handle a a modest-sized print load, the Kyocera is a good, if not the best, choice.
The Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw is a well-designed, small-office workhorse that produces good-quality mono and colour prints at a decent speed. But it isn’t particularly cheap to run, so rivals may offer better value.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 8