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Kyocera Mita FS-9500DN Editor's Choice Award 2002

Sum-up: An excellent model that straddles the line between departmental and high-volume markets

This new 50ppm model marks Kyocera Mita's entry into the high-volume printer market. Unlike the high-volume printer models from some of the company's copier competitors—such as Canon, Konica, and Xerox—Kyocera Mita's machine is not derived from a digital copier at all. It was developed to serve as a printer from the beginning. It is, in fact, a close rival of the HP LaserJet 9000-series printers.

We suspect the reason for this is the FS-9500DN comes from the Kyocera side of the family, rather than the Mita side. Kyocera has been making laser printers with strong features and value for years, and this new 50ppm machine is simply an extension of its FS series. In fact, the FS-9500DN replaced the 36ppm FS-9000 as the top model in the line.

The FS-9500DN's features, while similar to those of the FS-9000, have a number of important differences. The FS-9500DN has a higher maximum paper capacity, at 4,200 sheets, and offers an optional finisher with hole punching, as well as a booklet maker with saddlestitcher. This model starts with standard Ethernet and duplexing. It features only 32MB of memory standard, but that can be expanded to 256MB. A 6GB hard disk is available as well.

The FS-9500DN is very durable, full-featured unit. Best of all, it's priced to compete with the Hewlett-Packard 9000, its big rival. The comparable HP version is the LaserJet 9000dn, which offers duplexing and network connectivity, just like the Kyocera Mita model. The FS-9500DN lists for $4,199, while the LaserJet 9000dn has a street price of $5,399. That's a big price advantage for the Kyocera Mita, and a little surprising since HP's printers tend to be among the least expensive on the market.

In some areas, the two machines are very similar. They both have roughly equivalent standard paper supplies (1,200 sheets for Kyocera Mita versus 1,100 sheets for HP), standard output capacities (500 versus 600 sheets), and optional hard disks (6GB versus 5GB). Kyocera Mita offers more optional input capacity—you can add 3,000 more sheets, as opposed to HP's 2,000. Both models offer optional 3,000-sheet finishers, but only Kyocera Mita offers a booklet maker with hole-puncher. Kyocera Mita offers PDF and TIFF printing standard; the HP doesn't offer either one, even as options. The HP models have a somewhat higher duty cycle, but we think, based on other Kyocera Mita models (with their durable drum technology), that the cost per page advantage goes to Kyocera Mita.

Of course, Hewlett-Packard has more add-on software and more easily available supplies. Nevertheless, we are impressed that the Kyocera Mita FS-9500DN can stand toe-to-toe with the remarkable LaserJet 9000 series. As a result, we give it out Editor's Choice Award.

Kyocera Mita is the office equipment arm of the Japanese conglomerate Kyocera, which is best known as a diversified manufacturer with interests ranging from industrial ceramics to cameras to printers. Kyocera Mita was formed when Kyocera acquired Mita—a maker of copiers, copier-based multifunctionals, printers, and faxes—in 1999. Prior to the takeover of Mita, Kyocera had marketed its laser printers in the United States through its Georgia-based sales organization. In 2000, though, the Kyocera printer operation was relocated to Mita's facilities in New Jersey, and the two printer product lines were combined. (The changeover to a single product line wasn't overly complicated since Mita was marketing relabeled Kyocera printers even before the takeover.)

Kyocera Mita's present line of laser printers starts at 12ppm and runs up to 50ppm. See our Low-Volume Laser Printer Guide and Mid-Volume Printer Guide for further details on those models. Kyocera Mita sells its machines through two channels: it uses value-added resellers (VARs) and its large copier dealer channel, where most of its copiers and faxes are sold.

Excerpted from The High-Volume Printer & Digital Duplicator Guides, volume 144, June 2002. ©2002 Progressive Business Publications, Inc.

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