Kyocera ECOSYS P5026cdn PC PRO Review
While the Ecosys P5026cdn isn’t quite as compact as HP’s mono LaserJet Pro MFP M227fdw, it’s attractive for an office laser printer. The white cube design and 410 x 410mm footprint makes it surprisingly unobtrusive, yet it’s still a full-colour laser with a 250-sheet paper cassette, a 50-sheet multipurpose tray and capacity for 150 sheets in the output tray at the top of the printer. Kyocera doesn’t specify a duty cycle beyond a maximum 50,000 pages per month, but if you need a printer to service a small office or workgroup, this one will definitely do the job.
In some respects, thought, it’s rather old-fashioned. There’s no wireless connectivity and no fancy colour touchscreen, just a simple two-line, backlit LCD panel and a selection of buttons to control the menus and access core functions. Despite this, we found it extremely easy to set up and use, with the Gigabit Ethernet connection configuring itself automatically and the downloaded driver finding the printer without any problems. That’s lucky, as the so-called Quick Start Guide is one of the worst we’ve seen, consisting of an impenetrable grid of tiny illustrations showing you the menu settings, step by step.
We’re far more impressed by Kyocera’s software. During installation it reminds you to use recycled paper and offers the option to turn on duplex printing by default – an easy way for many businesses to save money. The driver is crammed with options for eco-printing, secure pull-printing and speed and quality options, all covered in a clear, no-nonsense fashion, and you’ll barely need to touch the controls on the device itself.
And while the printer itself isn’t wireless, it still works with Kyocera’s Mobile Print app when connected to a network with wireless access. Plus, it supports AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Mopria-compliant apps.
When it comes to print quality, the Kyocera doesn’t excel in any area- but it delivers consistently good results. Text is professional-looking, crisp and black, although a little lightweight at the printer’s default settings, and business graphics are rendered with punch and finesse: the lines, tints and graduated fills that trip up some printers aren’t a challenge for the P5206cdn. Photos are the Kyocera’s weakness, with slightly drab colours, poor shadow detail and a lack of dynamic range, but unless you’re planning to print glossy marketing materials for external use, you won’t have too many complaints.
The P5206cdn falls slightly behind rival colour lasers from Brother and OKI for speed. It takes the same time to squeeze the first page out – just over 14 seconds in our colour document test – but hits speeds of 16.4ppm black-and-white and 10ppm colour, where the OKI reaches 22ppm and 12.8ppm respectively. Print in duplex mode and the mono throughput drops to 10.4ppm against the OKI’s 13.3ppm.
If speed isn’t your be-all and end-all, the Kyocera has some other great feature to compensate. Hit the Quiet mode button on the top panel, for example, and it reduces the speed to drop the noise level, making one of the quietest laser printers on test even quieter. Your prints will take roughly a third longer to print-we saw the colour throughout drop from 10ppm to 6.5ppm – but in a smaller, less frantic office environment, this might be something you can live with.
This isn’t a multifunction printer, so those looking for scanning and copying will have to look elsewhere. Running costs are in the right ballpark, though, at roughly 1.3p per mono page and 7.6p per colour page, and you can drop them further by switching to Eco mode. Just note that both mono and colour prints grow noticeably fainter.
The Kyocera comes second-best to the OKI and Brother printers on performance, but it’s slightly cheaper and – in some ways – a stronger all-rounder. If you’re after a laser printer for heavy monthly office workloads, this is an excellent choice.