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Kyocera Mita TASKalfa 500ci review

Kycoera Mita’s TASKalfa 500Ci is a highly configurable and very capable printer. We take a look at it for usability and print quality.

Kyocera Mita quotes speeds of up to 50ppm for black print and 40ppm for colour, both on A4 paper. At A3, the equivalent claims are 25ppm and 19ppm. We tested with 20-page and 60-page black text documents and produced a top, real-world, normal mode speed of 34ppm. While this is some way off the headline figure of 50ppm, it's still a respectable speed for this class of machine.

Our 20-page text and colour graphics document gave 30ppm and when we printed the 60-page duplex document, we saw 28ppm. This is a very good speed for printing double-sided pages, where there's usually a drop-off of 50 per cent or more from the single-sided speed. On A3 pages, we saw 17ppm for simplex colour and 12ppm for duplex.

Colour copying is also fast, with A4 pages fed through long-edge first for extra speed. A 20-page copy took just 34 seconds and when we combined the 20 pages down to a 10-page duplex document, it still took only 41 seconds. Finally, a full-colour 15 by 10cm photo came through in 12 seconds.

When we'd finished printing a 60-page job, the papers were almost painfully hot to take from the machine. We queried this with Kyocera Mita and the company said it would expect the paper to be hotter when printing duplex because of passing the hot fuser twice or using coated papers. Our job was single-sided and on normal copier paper, though.

The other immediate shortcoming is that the paper-out tray is immediately under the scanner and behind the large control panel. A new user may miss this altogether and wonder where his/her prints or copies are and, even when you know where to look, it's not exactly a convenient layout for retrieving pages.

Print and copy quality is very good. Black text comes through dark and dense and, although the machine's default resolution is just 600dpi, this is enhanced to 9,600 by 600dpi in software. Colour graphics, whether from original print or copies, are bright and dense and ideal for business use. Registration of text over colour is also very good, and we could see no haloing in our test samples.

Even our test photo print, something many colour lasers have trouble reproducing, looked surprisingly natural, with less of the 'small gamut' colouring that often plagues such prints. There's no sign of banding and there was even some detail in darker, shadowed areas, which is often lost.

The TASKalfa 500ci is a big, capable machine and Kyocera Mita appears to have covered most of the bases in producing an expandable multi-function device, which prints quickly, has low cost of ownership and enough expandability to grow with your business. A couple of design glitches, such as the positioning of the standard paper

Verdict

This departmental, multi-function device enjoys very flexible configuration options and can produce single and double-sided prints and copies easily, controlled by a large and well thought-out touch control panel. It's long-life drum ticks sustainability and running costs boxes and print quality is easily good enough for any office use.

DPI: 600dpi (9,600 x 600 enhanced), 40/19ppm A4/A3 printer

Paper tray: 2 x 500 + 100-sheet paper trays

Duty Cycle: 15,000 page monthly average duty cycle (150,000 max)

Connections: Direct print USB socket, USB 2.0, 10/100 Ethernet

Languages: PCL6 and PostScript L3 drivers,

Features: PDF direct print, duplex, booklet printing

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