Design aspects we disliked in the Brother HL-4200CN crop up again in the Magicolor 3300 DN. The multipurpose tray is difficult to open. And the printer prints even if the plastic panel serving as both toner-cartridge covers and output tray is removed -- a careless oversight at best.
The Magicolor 3300 DN would serve a small workgroup adequately but not as well as other models we tested. The Xerox Phaser 6250N and the lower-priced Oki Data C7300n are better buys in this price range.
Kyocera Ecosys FS-C5016N
Everyone knows that the real money for printer vendors lies in the consumables, not the machines. And as our calculations show, the less expensive printers often have the most expensive consumables costs over time. But one entry-level model bucks the trend. Kyocera's Ecosys FS-C5016N's long-life drum saves you thousands of dollars compared to other printers.
If time is money, however, then the Ecosys FS-C5016N exacts its fee by posting the slowest times by far on our performance tests. Text printed at a sedate average of 10ppm; color pages, on average, crawled at a slothlike 1.3ppm. Print quality was good overall, but text looked a little heavy, and color samples seemed a little darker than usual.
It's too bad, because the printer has many other nice attributes. The FS-C5016N has a high maximum paper capacity (with extra-cost trays). Kyocera's KM-Viewer software (in both Windows and Web form) offers a bevy of features and a clean, simple interface. Its documentation is exhaustively detailed, but we disliked having to jump from one manual to another to perform our network installation.
Offices that want to shave every penny off printing costs may consider the Ecosys FS-C5016N regardless of its performance. The busier the office, however, the more this printer will frustrate users.
Lexmark's C752n has plenty of good points, including simple setup and operation, plus its full-featured, intuitively designed MarkVision management tool. But its expensive consumables and so-so print quality drag it down compared to others in the roundup.
Setting up and using the C752n is almost soothing. The printed documentation illustrates every step of the installation, and the wizard often knows the right setting before you do. During printing, the control panel's LCD offers up helpful messages and diagrams, such as which of the four zones contains a jam.
The C752n's imposing boxy, bulky design has its ups and downs. It has a sky-high maximum paper capacity of 3,100 sheets. The entire front panel swings upward to expose the innards; well-illustrated labels guide the removal of errant pages. But both the panel and its hinges seem flimsy. And as with its IBM twin, a printed page fell out the open upper-right access door and caused a jam.
Normally we like copious labeling and documentation, but in the C752n's case, a few instructions went awry. Insufficient labeling makes it hard to tell which set of arrows to follow when removing the toner cartridges. An illustration in the user's guide fails to distinguish clearly between the fuser's release levers and an unrelated pair of nonremovable latches located nearby.