Kyocera Mita FS-C1020 MFP - colour laser printer review

As a multi-function device, the FS-C1020MFP offers a lot, but can Kyocera successfully bring the quality of its larger format printers to its offerings lower down the scale?

IT Pro Verdict

Kyocera's FS-C1020MFP is affordably priced with reasonable print speeds and page costs that, although not remarkably low, include the cost of the integrated drum and are fairly typical for a compact office MFP. Its print quality is nothing short of outstanding, with perfect colour and shading and copies, although slightly slow, looked great. Unfortunately, all this is let down by some of the worst network scanning speeds we've ever seen. Scan quality is fine, but few people are prepared to wait over a minute for a 150dpi A4 scan. If you rarely need to scan documents, the FS-C1020MFP is an unremarkable but reasonably capable printer. If you actually need to scan documents, though, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.

Compact colour laser MFPs are a vital component of many offices, providing small work groups with access to networking printing and scanning as well as being capable to scan and fax documents at a touch. Of these features, it's inevitable that printing will be the most commonly used, often followed by simple copying tasks.

However, it's important to get an MFP that can quickly and easily fulfil all the tasks required of it. We're more used to seeing Kyocera's MFPs as massive office photocopier-sized machines, such as the TASKalfa 500ci rather than a compact evolution of the company's SME laser printers. This entry into the market for smaller MFPs is welcome, although not all of its features were equally effective or successful, with some conspicuous flaws in its scanning capabilities.

The FS-C1020MFP has a maximum print resolution of 600dpi, optical scanning of up to 1,200 x 1,200dpi, 10/100 Ethernet and USB Hi-Speed ports, an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) that can scan, fax or copy up to 35 sheets of A4 and an automatic duplex unit. The ADF can't handle duplex scanning, but there's little else missing from this specification.

It's easy to install. The express installer located the printer on our network in a matter of seconds and then setup the default PCL6 emulation and TWAIN drivers. It has a 250-sheet paper tray that can be upgraded with additional trays to a maximum capacity of 750 sheets. The printer has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 10,000 pages, but Kyocera recommends a regular monthly load of no more than 1,500 pages.

The printer prompted us to enter a few details of our location and fax settings when we first connected it. A small mono LCD screen provides access to the printer's built-in menu system, but it's far easier to configure its key settings using its web interface. A simple, elegant interface makes it easy to configure everything from toner saving to fax and scanning shortcuts. You can create different users and assign each different permissions to copy, scan and fax and it's easy to add a range of network scanning targets including e-mail addresses, FTP servers and SMB shares.

The colour toners produced a marked plasticky smell that means you won't want to keep this printer right next to anyone's desk, which could be an issue. However, print quality was superb. The printer has a maximum resolution of 600dpi, but offers Fast, Standard and Fine print modes. Fast is easily good enough for colour and mono graphs, documents and letters.

We switched to Fine mode when we printed our photo-quality images. Text was crisp, even at tiny font sizes, and colour prints were stunning, with precise colour reproduction and sharp lines and smooth shading on our graphs and illustrated business documents. Mono documents printed at a quick 16ppm.

K.G. Orphanides

K.G. is a journalist, technical writer, developer and software preservationist. Alongside the accumulated experience of over 20 years spent working with Linux and other free/libre/open source software, their areas of special interest include IT security, anti-malware and antivirus, VPNs, identity and password management, SaaS infrastructure and its alternatives.

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