Kyocera Mita FS-1300D review
Needs USB port
Review Date: 26 Sep 2008
Price when reviewed: (£117)
Reviewed By: Simon Williams
Mono laser printers are still the stalwarts of business printing, ideal for producing low-cost black-and-white text and graphics prints.
Kyocera Mita is serious about laser printers; it makes little else and hasn't been distracted by producing inkjets as well. The FS-1300D is a personal laser with the added attraction of duplex printing.
With fairly traditional lines - for that, read pretty boxy - this printer is cased in cream and dark slate grey. Paper feeds from a 250-sheet tray at the bottom of the front panel and feeds to a deep indentation in its top surface. A separate, 50-sheet multi-purpose tray folds down from its front panel for special media ranging from envelopes to letterheads and transparencies.
The paper stop on the top surface of the printer is triangular and conceals a small transparent window through the top cover, revealing the toner cartridge beneath. This is just a cosmetic tweak and serves no practical purpose. It's a shame it couldn't show something useful, like the level of toner in the printer.
The control panel shows a bit of a break with convention, and it consists of a circular dial with six green and orange LED indicators. These cover the normal status indications, such as paper jams and low toner or paper. There are just two control buttons, coloured orange and green, to start and stop a print job.
The only connection at the back is a single USB socket, although a network adaptor is available as an optional extra. Other options include extra memory, a cabinet on which to stand the printer and one or two more 250-sheet paper trays.
Software installation is pretty straightforward and the printer driver is, if anything, a little basic. There's support for printing multiple pages per sheet, but nothing we could find for watermarks or over-printing. Physical setup requires lifting the top cover and clipping the toner cartridge into place. The printer performs a one-time toner charging cycle, which takes around a quarter of an hour.
Kyocera Mita claims the FS-1300D can print 28 pages per minute (ppm) and on a long document you may get somewhere close to this. With a 20-page text document, we saw 23ppm. Even when we switched to print 15 x 10cm photos, the machine produced over four per minute, which is very respectable.
In duplex mode, which the printer handles very efficiently by feeding the first side of each page directly after the second side of the previous one with almost no gap, the print speed went down to 15 sides per minute, which is still pacey for a personal laser like this.
Print quality varies with the kind of material being printed. Text print is dark and clear with no signs of toner spatter. Business graphics, such as charts and tables, also come out well and are good enough for customer documentation as well as for internal use. When it comes to greyscale photographs, however, there's some blotchiness evident in areas of smooth tone, such as skies and even with the maximum resolution of 1200dpi, dot patterns are surprisingly obvious.
Kyocera Mita has a patent on its proprietary drum coating which, unlike most of its competitors, lasts the full life of the printer. All you add is toner, which you might think would make it a very cheap printer to run. That depends, though, on the price charged for the toner cartridge. At the best price we could find, it gives a page cost of around 1.02p.
This is a reasonable price for mono prints, but isn't particularly low compared with that of many of its rivals, which require you to periodically replace both the toner and drum. However, the FS-1300D's toner cartridge is rated at 7200 pages, so you won't be ordering replacement cartridges every other week, unless you're using it very heavily.
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