Although we have referred to the FS-C5016N as a laser printer, it actually uses LED technology, but the result is exactly the same as far as the user is concerned. You may have noticed that Kyocera quotes the same 16ppm figure for both mono and colour printing. This is due to the single pass construction where the four toner cartridges are arranged in the horizontal plane. In theory the paper travels at the same speed, regardless of the type of printing that you are doing, however our testing showed that the FS-5016N acted much like any conventional multi-pass printer.
We tested the printer using the standard 96MB of memory, although a module of Buffalo V3133128MEPTP memory was included in the box of our review unit, labelled as an upgrade for Epson AcuLaser C1000 and EPL-5900 printers. Upgrading the memory is a big job which involves the removal of a circuit board, and the manual warns that this is a task for a Kyocera engineer. We took the hint and left well alone. We also wanted to see how the unit performed in base specification, rather than with an optional upgrade.
On the right hand side of the printer there is a Compact Flash card slot, but this is not a direct printing feature for digital cameras as you may expect. Instead it is for loading up new fonts and firmware.
Once we’d unpacked the printer and plugged in the consumables we had to go through the colour registration process. This is fairly straightforward so long as you have the set-up chart in your hand to guide you around the menus in the LCD display, but it’s not intuitive. Once that was done we got busy with our testing, starting with 50 pages of text which took three minutes 35 seconds, with the first page dropping after 18 seconds and an average of 14ppm.
With Mixed Content 50 pages took five minutes 50 seconds, with the first page dropping after 20 seconds. This is an average of under 9ppm, however there is a tale to tell here. Mid-way through this test the printer stopped for 55 seconds and displayed the message ‘please wait, adding toner. When that was finished it printed a few more pages and then stopped for another 45 seconds, this time displaying ‘please wait, calibrating’. If you take those two delays out the average rises to 12ppm, but that is still slower than we would have hoped for.
Printing a 50 page PDF took five minutes 15 seconds, with the first page taking 26 seconds, which is a speed of nearly 10ppm, and our coloured PowerPoint slides printed at a speed of 4ppm. We finished by printing an A4 photo, which took 45 seconds.
We were disappointed that the Kyocera wasn’t faster, but the stopwatch tells no lies.
On the plus side we were very impressed by the quality of the output which was somewhere between very good and excellent. Black text on white paper is clear, crisp and sharp, but we would expect no less from a modern laser or LED printer. The surprise was just how good grey scales, shading and colour looked, and the printed surface has a glossy look and feel that just oozes quality. This was totally unexpected as were using ordinary photocopy paper, and it means that we have very mixed feelings about the FS-C5016N. It’s expensive to buy and only pays its way once you have printed a great many pages, but its not particularly fast so it will take some time to print out all those pages. If you really want to benefit from the quality that this printer can offer you really ought to use as much colour as possible, but of course that will make it even slower.
The Kyocera FS-C5016N is a high quality printer and comes with an equally high price. However, it’s the cost per page that Kyocera is selling this printer on, so you’re going to have to need pretty heavy duty cycles to get the best out of it. But if you need a colour laser for your office and you print a masses of pages you’ll get the most out of the FS-C5016N.