Color laser printers are becoming more affordable, though toner costs can still be a shock
Kyocera Mita FS-C5300DN
FS-C5300DN Review, by Melissa Riofrio, PC World August 27, 2009
Colors can be grainy or slightly off
Bottom Line: Speed and economy are its strengths; its color quality is acceptable for mainstream business use.
Kyocera Mita's FS-C5300DN color laser printer is very fast, and its consumables have an extraordinarily low cost. It's well worth considering for a high-volume office's color needs--if the color is for pie charts and accents, rather than for good-quality photos.
The FS-C5300DN is one of the fastest color lasers we've tested. It printed plain, black text pages at a rate of 27.1 pages per minute. Printing various kinds of graphics, it outpaced the pack in all but one test.
Color image quality was adequate but unsophisticated. Solid blocks of color, such as in pie charts, looked fine, but color photographs tended to look grainy or fuzzy, and a yellowish cast affected most pictures slightly. Grayscale images struggled with subtle gradations and looked too dark overall. Lexmark's C734dn came close in speed and produced oversaturated, but generally better, print quality.
The FS-C5300DN's generous standard equipment includes 500-sheet input and output trays, plus a 150-sheet multipurpose tray. All are commendably sturdy. Automatic duplexing works for both letter- and legal-size paper. An optional 500-sheet input tray costs $299 (list). A front USB port is available for use with key drives. The front control panel is usable but would have been helped by a few more button labels, and the menus on the 2-line, 16-character, monochrome LCD could have offered a few more navigational cues.
Kyocera Mita's long-life consumables make the FS-C5300DN a cheap printer to maintain. The photoconducting drums (one for each color) and toner supplies are separated to minimize waste. The drums last 200,000 pages apiece, so it will take you a while to get through those. The starter-size toner supplies are hardly skimpy: 6000 pages for black (K) and 5000 pages for cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y). A full-size, 12,000-page replacement black toner supply costs $107 (list) or 0.9 cent per page, while each 10,000-page color toner supply costs $153.33 (list) or 1.5 cents per page.
The actual price you pay for the toner (and the printer) may vary. Kyocera Mita printers are available only through authorized dealers, who set the purchase price and often include value-added options such as discounted consumables or on-site repairs beyond the warranty period. The FS-C5300DN had a lofty list price of $1739 at this writing. Two other extremely expensive printers--OKI Printing Solutions' C8800n and Xerox's Phaser 7500/DN--are wide-format models intended for desktop publishing.
Kyocera Mita's FS-C5300DN makes high-volume color printing affordable--and it pumps the pages out fast. Assuming you can do better than the list price, this printer would work well in a mainstream business office with basic color needs.
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