Kyocera's strong reputation has been built upon many years of turning out large, powerful and extremely effective printers of high quality. The relatively diminutive sub-£150 Kyocera FS-1061DN, then, is quite a departure.
See: more monochrome laser printer reviews.
Those sliced down dimensions hit you as soon as you have unpacked the Kyocera, and the Kyocera FS-1061DN looks rather like a larger model that's been placed in a miniaturisation machine, dressed in the same business-like but dull cream/charcoal colour scheme as other Kyocera models.
Millimetre for millimetre, it's one of the smallest laser printers we've seen yet, although those measurements can be deceptive.
It measures just 358mm across; only the Samsung ML-2955DW has less width. That printer, though, is rather bulkier in terms of depth and height. In fact, it's the Pantum P2050 that perhaps most closely resembles the FS-1061DN's size. The P2050 is a little wider, but has marginally less depth and height. More crucially, where the P2050's paper tray was built into the bottom, the FS-1061DN requires you to fold out the input tray from the front of the printer.
The tray is neatly covered with a protective cover, but once you've taken its front-loaded design into account, it does mean that the printer's depth is effectively closer to 400mm than the stated 276mm. The folding panels aren't made of the highest quality plastic either, and you probably won't want to go through the rigmarole of unhooking the cover and folding up the printer every night, just to save room.
The input tray does at least have good capacity, allowing for up to 250 sheets at a time. A single sheet manual feed is also provided. Paper is fed into the top of the printer, and the system worked very well for catching the sheets – lower-priced printers aren't always this effective. We didn't experience any problems with paper feeds, and Kyocera's much-vaunted reliability looks to be present again here.
Besides USB 2.0, the Kyocera FS-1061DN comes with ethernet built in for wired network access, and the standard 10/100 ethernet should suffice for most offices. Inside 32MB of RAM is provided, and this is ample for a printer at this price level. By comparison, the Pantum came with just 8MB while the Samsung ML-2955DW offers 64MB.
You can't plug USB drives or memory cards into the Kyocera FS-1061DN, and no security features are included either.
The Kyocera FS-1061DN's control panel is rather simplistic, but Kyocera has been very clever about providing a cunningly-featured software interface. The latter is very logical and easy to use, and makes it simple to tweak the printer's settings without having to get bogged down in a cramped onboard menu system. The interface could give you more help, though, and we didn't find it very easy to find the best quality settings.
Kyocera FS-1061DN: Performance
Out of the box, the Kyocera FS-1061DN's print quality was too faint. With a little experimentation through the maintenance options, though, we were able to get some better results.
After tweaking of the drum settings, the Kyocera FS-1061DN's output was dark yet easy to read, and text was reasonably crisp. Some of the legibility is lost at very small font sizes, but overall the Kyocera competes well against its rivals, and will be more than capable with general office work.
It doesn't particularly like printing images, and greyscale depth is lacking here. Pictures also suffer significantly from banding, and the overall tone is overcast. For text, though, the Kyocera certainly betters the quality of the Pantum's output, and perhaps even edges out the Samsung ML-2955DW.
The Kyocera is fast, producing output in a very capable 20.7ppm. This comfortably outstrips most at this level, although once again the Samsung holds the advantage.
Auto duplexing is provided, and here the Kyocera FS-1061DN drops to a still palatable rate of 12.2ppm. A drop of just 41%, this is a surprisingly small fall in speed for a printer of this price, and makes the auto duplexing an even more attractive proposition.
The printer added around 30dB to the ambient sound level during normal jobs. This amount of noise is typical for a laser – indeed, we've used a good many that are rather louder.
However, press the Quiet Mode button, and you can cut the added noise to a mere 16dB louder. The downside is that you have to sacrifice around 5ppm of the speed. Nonetheless, this is a useful option for times when noise levels need to be kept low.
Where the Kyocera FS-1061DN does edge ahead of its rivals is on running costs. Consumables are extremely good value for money, with the Kyocera's toner costs working out at a very economical 2p a page. For a printer at this price level, 2p is a superb achievement. The Samsung and Pantum, in contrast, work out at 2.7p and 2.4p respectively.