Installing the Kyocera FS-C5100DN colour laser printer was amazingly fast and smooth - and the good times don't stop there.

Indeed, only the need to open up the Kyocera FS-C5100DN and adjust some switches (to take it out of default 'envelope feed' mode) slowed us down. We completed the setup in less than 15 minutes, extremely fast for a laser.

The Kyocera FS-C5100DN exudes quality all the way through. It's a network model aimed at offices, so hardly likely to be compact - it's considerably larger than the majority of printers we've seen recently. And while you could never use the word 'attractive' to describe a megalith like this, it does have a certain sleek charm.

The Porsche design catches the eye, and touches such as the curved transparent control panel lend the Kyocera FS-C5100DN undoubted allure. We like some of the visual touches in the software, too, such as the graphic of the printer that appears in a screen corner to show when it's printing. We experienced no problems while testing the Kyocera, and tricky features such as the paper feed worked flawlessly.

The Kyocera FS-C5100DN's standard fast ethernet interface can be upgraded to Gigabit, while wireless 802.11b/g capabilities can also be bolted on. The printer can be fed with up to 250 sheets in the standard cassette (although this goes down to A6 size), while 150 can be put in the multipurpose tray.

In addition, you have the option of adding two more paper feeders to the Kyocera FS-C5100DN - either the PF-500 or, for a more versatile range of paper sizes, the PF-510 - for a maximum of 1400 sheets.

This makes the Kyocera FS-C5100DN potentially a rather heavy-duty printer (although its more expensive brother, the FS-C5200DN can go up to 2150 sheets). Add duplexing facilities, and the ability to print files directly from flash memory, and this amounts to a laser of considerable talents.

And the printing quality? Text is available at the very decent real world rate of 17.1ppm (pages per minute), only slightly down on the stated figure of 21ppm. Colour, available at the rate of 10.3ppm, is rather slower than promised, but this is still a very proficient figure from the Kyocera FS-C5100DN.

Text quality is good, although not superlative. Characters are clean, but the text isn't as dark as from some printers. Nonetheless, output is very satisfactory. The colour graphics, thanks to the Multibit technology and automatic calibration, are stunning, with this Kyocera FS-C5100DN producing the most glorious colours and depth even on ordinary printing paper. Rarely have we seen better - and even then, the printer has invariably cost a considerable amount more.

Kyocera FS-C5100DN: Specs

  • Laser Printer
  • Max resolution 9.600x600dpi (600x600dpi optical)
  • Quoted print speed B=21ppm C=21ppm
  • Actual print speed B=17.1ppm C=10.3ppm
  • Supported interface types USB 2.0 & Fast Ethernet
  • 250-sheet universal cassette and 150-sheet multi-purpose input
  • Dimensions (wxdxh) 345x518x455mm
  • Weight 28kg
  • Toner costs B=£63 C=£100 x 3
  • Print life (pages) B=5,000 C=4,000 x 3
  • 2-year warranty
  • Laser Printer
  • Max resolution 9.600x600dpi (600x600dpi optical)
  • Quoted print speed B=21ppm C=21ppm
  • Actual print speed B=17.1ppm C=10.3ppm
  • Supported interface types USB 2.0 & Fast Ethernet
  • 250-sheet universal cassette and 150-sheet multi-purpose input
  • Dimensions (wxdxh) 345x518x455mm
  • Weight 28kg
  • Toner costs B=£63 C=£100 x 3
  • Print life (pages) B=5,000 C=4,000 x 3
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Kyocera FS-C5100DN isn't the cheapest, but it is a printer of considerable quality. Running costs are decent, and the good base specifications and huge range of options mean you'll be able to ratchet up the facilities later on should you so wish - although if you want to upgrade early on, it's worth checking out the enhanced specifications of the FS-C5200DN and C5300DN. Colour output is particularly startling, and as a durable and reliable all-purpose office printer, we can think of few better.

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