Kyocera Mita Ecosys FS-1350DN Monochrome Laser Printer
Thursday, June 25, 2009; 12:19 AM
The Kyocera Mita Ecosys FS-1350DN monochrome laser printer starts off at a disadvantage because its list price of $761 (as of May 25, 2009)--the only price that the company would give us--makes it appear a lot more expensive than it probably is in stores. But even at a better price, this entry-level printer would still be slow and offer mediocre graphics quality. So why consider buying it? Because of its extremely inexpensive consumables.
The printer is available only through authorized dealers, who usually sell the printer as part of a package deal with other services. Entry-level lasers that performed similarly to the FS-1350DN include the Xerox Phaser 3250/DN and the Ricoh Aficio SP 3300DN, both of which currently cost well under $400.
Kyocera claims that the image drum on the Ecosys FS-1350DN can last for hundreds of thousands of pages, so the only things you'll have to replace regularly are the toner supplies. The printer ships with a modest 3600-page starter cartridge; a 7200-page replacement cartridge costs $83, or 1.2 cents per page. That pricing is competitive with the best toner prices on the market, including those for high-volume laser printers.
The control panel features a two-line, monochrome LCD with a small array of navigation and selection buttons. The advanced user's guide provides detailed but accessible instructions for using the control panel buttons and explains the meaning of the blinking cursor or question marks on the LCD when a printing error occurs.
In its standard configuration, the FS-1350DN offers automatic duplexing. The unit also has 250-sheet main input and output trays. The 50-sheet multipurpose tray is bendy, but its wide plastic extensions and paper guides move more easily than the ornery guides in the main tray. You can add one or two 250-sheet input trays for $130 each. A USB host port and a slot for an optional CompactFlash card reader let you print directly from a portable storage device or camera.
Plodding speeds and subpar graphics quality tarnish the FS-1350DN's performance. Kyocera claims a top speed of 32 pages per minute, but in our tests it managed a subpar 27.6 ppm. Graphics print speeds were slower than average too, and output quality was disappointing: Images looked dark, grainy, and rough, with limited grayscale contrast.
The underpowered Kyocera Mita FS-1350DN is a bit of an underachiever. Attractive features such as autoduplexing, direct printing, and cheap toner could make it a good fit for a small workgroup, but cheaper options are available.