Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D review: cheap mono laser to run but print quality has room for improvement

Following on the heels of the FS-4300DN comes this slimmed down mono laser printer from Kyocera, the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D. The difference in price may be significant – at the time of writing, the FS-4300DN costs around £870 to the £270 of the FS-2100D – but in many respects these two models have much in common.

For a start, there's the overall look of the two printers. Kyocera's Ecosys range have a unified design, so the various models resemble each other very closely. The casing of the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D is chunky and robust, but not overly heavy. At 13.5kg it's only 1.1kg lighter than its big brother. Nonetheless, 13.5kg is by no means weighty for a business laser at this price point.

The black-and-cream casing makes the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D look more like an architectural experiment from the 1960s, especially with a curved turret comprising the front right corner. This turret is mirrored in the optional paper trays, so as you build up the Kycoera's paper handling, the overall look remains consistent.

And those paper handling facilities deserve mention. Just like the FS-4300DN, the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D comes with a sizeable 500-sheet tray as standard, along with a 100-sheet multipurpose tray. You can add up to four additional 500-sheet paper trays, for a maximum of 2600 sheets. That figure was decent in the high-end FS-4300DN, but in the sub-£300 FS-2100D it's outstanding.

As with the FS-4300DN, the top-mounted control panel is wide-ranging and highly detailed, giving you full control over most aspects of the printer's operation, while the strong monitoring facilities give network managers easy control of the Kyocera. You can access files from USB drives for added security.

Connectivity options as standard are rather lacking on this model, with only USB 2.0 offered. You do have the option of upgrading to gigabit ethernet for £125, although should you want such facilities, you're better off just paying an extra £72 for the FS-2100DN model, which comes with gigabit ethernet as standard.

Either printer can be upgraded to wireless 802.11/b/g/n facilities for the exorbitant fee of £289.

The N-suffixed Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100DN also has more memory than the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D, matching the FS-4300DN's 256MB.

The Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D, on the other hand, comes with just 128MB as standard. The FS-2100D also has a lower maximum memory of 1152MB, as opposed to the 1280MB of the FS-2100DN.

Performance

Up to 40 pages per minute is boasted by the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D. In real-world printing, you're unlikely to get to that due to the printer needing around 10 seconds to get started.

Once the first sheet has come out, though, subsequent sheets are almost instantaneous, and this is a reasonably fast model. Even with the 10 second startup, we were able to achieve figures of 29.7ppm, and if you're printing large jobs then you can expect that to increase to the mid-30s.

Duplexing is provided, although the speed here does fall to a rather more sluggish 15.4ppm – a drop of close to fifty percent, which isn't ideal.

Even with experimentation, the Kyocera's output isn't as dark as we'd ideally like. This was a slight complaint of the FS-4300DN as well, and seems to be common to the Ecosys printers. The characters also fell just short of the crisp perfection we expect of the best laser printers. Neither is this the best model for graphics reproduction.

The running costs aren't quite as low as on the FS-4300DN, with the Kyocera Ecosys FS-2100D's toner generating only half as many pages at a time. They are a little cheaper to compensate, although the cost per page is still almost 0.3p more.

Nonetheless, close to 0.7p remains very cheap for a page of text, with few other printers able to get anywhere near such low running costs.

OUR VERDICT

Those needing ethernet facilities would be advised to upgrade to the FS-2100DN. Otherwise, though, the FS-2100D has some very good features, including superb paper handling. Running costs are low, and speed is generally high. The hit on duplex printing is disappointing though, and the text is quite faint and not as sharp as it should be. Those needing the best text quality will want to look elsewhere.

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