Kyocera Mita – FS-820 review

entry-level laser printer with low cost of ownership
Photo of Kyocera Mita – FS-820

This is the first mono laser printer Kyocera has produced at the entry-level end of the market. With a street price of around £150, it goes head-to-head against budget models from HP and Lexmark, but still hopes to take advantage of its lifetime print engine, which means the only consumable is toner.

Styled by FA Porsche, the whole printer has a slight curve to it and is coloured in off-white and slate grey. Paper moves from a tray under the printer and is ejected into a deep depression in its top surface. A multi-purpose tray pulls up and folds down from its front panel and can be used for envelopes, letterheads or other special media. However it can only take one sheet at a time, so doesn’t act as an occasional second feed tray.

There are only two buttons on the printer’s top surface – power and job cancel – and two indicators, which are used for several different messages depending on whether they’re steady or flashing. At the back are sockets for USB 2 and parallel connections.

Loading toner, the only consumable needed by the printer, is a simple procedure; you flip up the front top cover and clip in the cartridge. The first time you load toner it takes the FS-820 fifteen minutes to initialise, but after that it’s pretty much instant-on.

The software driver does most of what you would expect, including printing more than one page per sheet and adding watermarks such as ‘Confidential’. It also enables you to define a particular group of settings as a ‘profile’ and save them to disk for quick setup next time you need them.

Print speeds are unexceptional, but within a stone’s throw of its main competitors. A five page text document took just under 40 seconds, giving an actual speed of 7.5 pages per minute, less than half the rated 16ppm. A single page of mixed text and graphics took around 18 seconds.

Print quality is fair, although in our test, text printed rather too heavily. This means small point sizes are reproduced clearly, but 10 or 12 point text looks a bit too full. Photographic print is generally well-defined, but there’s some banding apparent in areas of varying tint.

Page costs work out at under 1.5p per page, a good 0.3p cheaper than most of its rivals, so if economy of operation is high up your list of attributes, the FS-820 is a good choice.

Company: Kyocera Mita

Contact: 0845 710 3104

This is a neat, smart printer from a company whose products in the SME and corporate business arenas are well respected. It shares excellent cost of ownership with those machines and is easy to set up and use. However, text print could be a bit clearer and a multi-sheet, special-purpose tray would be a bonus.