The Panasonic KX-MB2030 is a monochrome laser printer with added fax, copier and scanner functionality
On the face of it, £260 for a mono laser multifunction device doesn't seem such a great deal. For this price you can get a good colour model. But it's the wide-ranging multifunctional nature of this Panasonic KX-MB2030 that merits the price tag. And you won't find much under £200 that can hit as many spots as this most business-oriented of devices.
There's the Panasonic KX-MB2030's fax facility, and the 33.6kbps capabilities make it well placed to usurp the traditional standalone fax machine.
The 10/100Mb/s ethernet connection is another addition that, all too frequently in business products, remains optional. The automatic document feeder is a nice feature that tends to accompany fax (and enhances the scanner), even if its 20-sheet capacity isn't the most impressive.
The Panasonic KX-MB2030's feature set is well-represented by the extensive panel of buttons on the front. Almost every feature can be controlled without needing a PC, and while the panel feels cluttered, the large lettering and clear captions help resolve any difficulties of working out what to press next.
The Panasonic KX-MB2030 is relatively compact given its wide range of features, and the subtle tones of its casing will help it blend into the background of the typical office. The 250-sheet tray will allow you to keep it well-stocked with paper, and its easy feed mechanism makes it fine for sizeable print jobs.
The software included with the Panasonic KX-MB2030 is much in keeping with the Panasonic's functional but slightly old-fashioned approach.
From programs that closely monitor the activities of the device, to a viewer that makes it easier to check the contents of files before you print them, the Panasonic's utilities cover most of the basics. You also get ReadIris 7 included for strong optical character recognition (OCR) support.
Panasonic quotes a print speed of 23 pages per minute. In practice, the real figure from the Panasonic KX-MB2030 is a few pages down on this; we were getting no more than 18.75 pages per minute.
Nonetheless, this turn of pace is very decent. The text is clean and well-defined. Characters are fairly thin, and while we've certainly seen bolder output before, the results are very pleasing to the eye.
Running costs are very acceptable, and the Panasonic KX-MB2030's 2,000 sheet toner cartridges keep the cost at just over 2p a page.
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