IT Pro Verdict
Fast print speeds
Low running costs
Minor scanning issues
For a small business, a colour laser device offers great speed and print quality, but too often the flip side is high running costs. Kyocera’s Ecosys M5526cdw, on the other hand, aims to balance features, performance and cost. It’s an MFP that scans, copies, faxes, and can print up to 26 black or colour pages per minute.
The M5526cdw is bulkier than an entry-level device and weighs 26kg, so it might be hard to accommodate in smaller offices. It’s a shame that the main paper tray holds only 250 pages, but there’s a 50-sheet multipurpose feed, and you can add another 250-sheet tray as an option. The generous 150-sheet output bin also detects when it’s full.
The 50-sheet ADF supports duplexing, so you can automatically print, scan, fax or copy double-sided documents without lifting a finger. With two sensors, the ADF can duplex scan in a single pass, but at 5.6 images per minute (ipm), our colour duplex copy test wasn’t especially quick. Regular colour copies were on the slow side too, with ten single-sided sheets taking a minute. In black only, the same job took half the time. Interestingly, single page copies took just nine seconds in black or colour, so the ADF may be a bottleneck for multi-page colour copies.
You can connect the M5526cdw via Wi-Fi, USB or Gigabit Ethernet, or use its front-panel USB port to print PDF or image formats from a USB key. You can scan directly to USB in the same formats, although inexplicably the feature is tucked away in the USB menu and called “Store File”. This encapsulates the essence of this MFP’s menu, which isn’t as intuitive as the more consumer-focused touchscreen on HP’s LaserJet Pro M283fdw.
We experienced similar issues when scanning as we did with Kyocera’s Ecosys M2735dw. While Kyocera’s TWAIN interface returned a normal preview, the captured image was corrupted. Scans worked perfectly with the included Quick Scan app, however, and from an Android phone. After reproducing the issue on a second PC, we downloaded the most recent version of the scan driver available on Kyocera’s support site. Although this was older than the driver on our disc, with an older style interface, it worked perfectly.
This is a swift printer, particularly in black. It reached 23.1ppm on our letter test, and managed a strong 18.5ppm on our more complex colour graphics test, which often takes the shine off fast colour devices. It was reasonably fast when duplexing in colour, printing ten sides of five sheets in 64 seconds – a rate of 9.4ipm.
Selecting the maximum 1,200dpi resolution halves the print engine’s speed, but photos were fairly quick, with two 10 x 8in images completing in 34 seconds. Scans also proved fast, with a preview completing in just ten seconds. At 300dpi we captured an A4 page in 14 seconds, and only needed 18 for a postcard-sized photo at 600dpi.
The Kyocera produced good results across the board, with no big missteps. Black text quality was very high, with sharp outlines and consistent characters right down to 5pt sizes. Colour graphics were strong, with authoritative if slightly under-saturated colours. This sombre bias was more evident in colour photos, which had a slight magenta cast and were a shade too dark. It’s hard to fault the scanner: at lower resolutions, office documents were sharp and well exposed, while higher resolution scans captured plenty of sharp detail.
Kyocera guarantees the M5526cdw for two years, but its drum is covered for three years or 100,000 pages. It’s intended to last the lifetime of the MFP, helping reduce maintenance and running costs. Replacement toner lasts for 4,000 black pages, or 3,000 each of cyan, magenta and yellow, giving running costs of 8.9p per full-colour page. That’s not bad for colour, but at 1.3p per page, black costs are a lot lower than many rival lasers.
The M5526cdw is a sensible choice for more demanding small office roles. It’s particularly suitable if you expect to print lots of black text, but want the option of decent colour graphics. Yet we wouldn’t overlook a strong inkjet option such as HP’s PageWide 477dw.
Kyocera Ecosys M5526cdw specifications
|Format||A4 colour laser|
|Print speed||23.1ppm/18.5ppm (colour/mono)|
|Display||10.9cm colour touchscreen|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi|
|Tray size||250-sheet input tray, 50-sheet multipurpose tray|
|Recommended monthly duty cycle||1,667 sheets|
|Dimensions||417 x 429 x 495mm|
|Warranty||2yr RTB (3yr on drum)|
|Options (exc VAT)||Secondary 250-sheet input tray|
After a brief career in corporate IT, Simon Handby combined his love of technology and writing when he made the move to Computer Shopper magazine. As a technology reviewer he's since tested everything from routers and switches, to smart air fryers and doorbells, and covered technology such as EVs, TVs, solar power and the singularity.
During more than 15 years as Shopper's long-time printer reviewer, Simon tried, tested and wrote up literally hundreds of home, small office and workgroup printers. He continues reviewing smart products and printers for a variety of publications, and has been an IT Pro contributor since 2010. Simon is almost never happier than when surrounded by printers and paper, applying his stopwatch and a seasoned eye to find the best performing, best value products for business users.