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Kyocera pushes hard with new entry-level mono laser FS-1100 at 28ppm

Issue #0807/2 – Kyocera is making aggressive moves in the entry-level mono laser market, raising its print speed from 18ppm to 28ppm with no price increase. Comparing the Total Cost of Printing on the FS-1100 with other 28ppm entry-level mono laser printers, places Kyocera at the leading edge along with Brother’s HL-5240 – but not quite in the lead.

Historically, Kyocera’s hardware has been more expensive to buy than almost any of its competitors, partly because the company is duty bound to make a profit from its hardware – a business objective that other manufacturers definitely do not play by. Kyocera’s Total Cost of Printing advantage has always been achieved through the pricing of supplies and not through the pricing of hardware.

However, advancements in low-cost hardware manufacturing over the last few years has allowed Kyocera to become increasingly competitive on the pricing of its hardware, with competitive supplies pricing playing in the equation as well.

Kyocera FS-1100Kyocera FS-1100
Previously offering entry-level mono laser hardware at 18ppm (FS-920), Kyocera’s newest model – FS-1100 – takes a 10ppm (55%) jump in performance without increasing the sale price at all. On the street, the FS-1100 is found at the same price as Brother’s HL-5240 and, although not the cheapest of printers, it is 16% less expensive to buy than Hewlett-Packard’s LaserJet P2015 and even a couple of pounds cheaper than low-price specialist, Samsung, with its ML-2850D.

But – and here’s the rub – the ML-2850D is equipped with auto-duplex facility right out of the box! And, Lexmark’s E250d is also duplex-ready while being 9% less expensive again – and, after all, purchase price is a great sales driver even though it shouldn’t be the primary cost driver.

Dell 1720Dell 1720

Selling at the same price as the Lexmark, and based on the same Lexmark engine, Dell’s 1720 reserves duplex capability for a separate model but sells the 1720 at a price on a level with the street price of the Lexmark.

All-in-all though, apart from the Hewlett-Packard model, the pricing of these machines is close, thereby making Total Cost of Printing the factor that creates a cost differentiation. Note that Canon has a model due to appear in stores soon (i-SENSYS LBP3310) that uses the same engine as Hewlett-Packard’s LaserJet P2015 but, as it is not yet in-store, there is no street pricing available.

At a small business level of 1,000 pages per month, the long-term CPP from these models ranges from 1.27 pence up to 1.79 pence – a 41% variance from lowest to highest (based on UK street price excluding tax).

Brother HL-5240Brother HL-5240
Somewhat surprisingly, it is the Brother HL-5240 that comes in with the lowest Total Cost of Printing overall, just beating Kyocera’s FS-1100 into second place even though the nominal CPP is a fraction higher. The use of 7,000-page supplies contributes to this long-term advantage (compared to just 4,000 pages from the Kyocera cartridge) – making the difference between needing to purchase only five toner cartridges over three years in comparison to nine.

Unsurprisingly, it is Lexmark’s E250d (with low 3,500-page toner cartridge – lowest of all) and Samsung’s ML-2850D that prove to be the most costly to run overall, despite their low purchase price – again proving the point that cheap almost always equals highest cost.

UK – Entry-level fast
mono laser printers
Purchase /
Duty Cycle
Print Speed Nominal
Long-term CPP
over 3 years
Not quoted
28 ppm 1.06 pence 1.27 pence
28 ppm 1.24 pence 1.53 pence
LaserJet P2015
26 ppm 1.16 pence 1.53 pence
28 ppm 1.03 pence 1.36 pence
28 ppm 1.54 pence 1.79 pence
28 ppm 1.35 pence 1.65 pence

Note that for this group of printers, the long-term Cost of Printing over three years shown in the accompanying table is calculated on the basis of 1,000 pages per month; is based on the use of maximum capacity supplies; takes into account any standard, or starter, supplies shipped with the device; and also includes the cost of purchase. All prices are street price without tax.

Total Cost of Printing

Entry-level fast mono laser printers

At low volumes then, the HL-5240 from Brother is clearly the favourite on overall cost, while Lexmark’s E250d and Samsung’s are the least attractive.

Lexmark E250dLexmark E250d

Because of their high toner cost, these two machines continue to be the most costly to run no matter what page volume is expected of them. The only point at which this does not apply is at 500 pages per month where the supplies balance pushes the E250d a little below the cost of Hewlett-Packard’s P2015.

At higher page volumes, the number of supplies units required result in fairly stable positioning with the Brother printer tracking the line taken by the Kyocera much more closely and the printers from Dell and Hewlett-Packard also tracking very closely together, leaving Samsung and Lexmark out at the top of the chart.

Into any purchase decision, though, a buyer would need to remember the fact that the Lexmark and Samsung printers both have duplex printing capability as standard and that there are some savings to be made on paper costs by printing as many print jobs in duplex as possible.

Samsung ML-2850DSamsung ML-2850D

It is entirely dependent on the volume of printing and the cost of the paper used as to whether this might alter the competitive position but there is the potential for the Total Cost of Printing for both Lexmark and Samsung printers to fall below the level of the Hewlett-Packard and Dell printers and to challenge both Brother and Kyocera if duplexing were used intelligently throughout the period of ownership.

All printers other than Dell’s 1720 make reference to being capable of manual duplexing through the printer driver.

Other than duplex, there is extraordinarily little to differentiate these six printers.

All are PCL6 and PS3 compatible, making this a high-performance entry-level business category. None of the printers are network-ready as standard but half feature a parallel interface in addition to a USB 2.0 interface (Brother, Dell and Lexmark).

In every case the control panel of the printer is restricted to a set of LED indicators and two buttons – Go and Stop.

It is paper capacity that gives us the other major differentiator. Maximum paper input capacity ranges from 251 sheets to 801 sheets and from a single main paper feed to the potential for three main paper feeds. All printers are based on a 250-sheet primary feed.

HP LaserJet P2015Hewlett-Packard
LaserJet P2015

Brother’s HL-5240 will accept two additional feeds of 250 sheets each, while Samsung’s ML-2850D has no paper feed options at all. Lexmark’s engine accepts a single 550-sheet feed, taking the Dell and Lexmark printers to a maximum of 801 sheets (together with their single-sheet bypass feed), while the Kyocera and Hewlett-Packard printers each accept just one optional feed of 250-sheet capacity. Only the HL-5240 and LaserJet P2015 have a bypass feed with a capacity higher than single-sheet – being 50-sheet.

Unless duplex printing is a requirement, there seems to be little question that the Brother HL-5240 is the machine of choice for flexibility and cost in this category, with the Kyocera FS-1100 very close behind as long as high levels of paper input flexibility are not an issue and there is no requirement for a parallel interface.

If duplex printing is required, the inclination would probably be to pay £42 extra for the Brother HL-5250DN so that the machine is networked as well as duplex-ready but still benefits from the same paper flexibility and low cost of supplies as the HL-5240.