Kyocera's TASKalfa MFPs target businesses rationalising their printer fleet and those tiring of the high costs of outsourcing. As the entry point of a new TASKalfa A3 family, the 2552ci combines print, copy and scan features with a 1200dpi engine, a versatile range of options and top print quality.
True, the 25/12ppm A4/A3 print speeds are hardly earth-shattering but it's more about what you can do with this printer. Designers with an eye on the big picture will warm to the SRA3 support, as the 2552ci can use 450 x 320mm paper for in-house borderless prints and posters.
The base system comes with 500-sheet A4 and A3/SRA3 paper drawers, to which three high-capacity options can be added for a total of 7,150 pages. You have a choice of three document processors for the A3 flatbed colour scanner, internal and external document finishers, a job separator, mailbox sorter - the list is endless.
Kyocera could have stretched its generosity to including wireless, WiFi Direct, NFC and fax, but these are all optional boards. At 90kgs, the 2552ci is no lightweight either and we found the CB-7110M wheeled base cabinet a real boon when we needed to move the printer.
The high starting price is tempered by Kyocera's legendarily low running costs. Combine the big 20K black and 12K colour cartridges with an OPC drum rated for at least 200K pages, and you'll get a mono A4 page for a mere 0.3p and a colour one for only 2.3p.
The price includes a 32GB M.2 SSD making the 2552ci HyPAS-ready out of the box. This allowed us to run multiple Cloud Direct apps supporting Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox and OneDrive.
Supplied as PKG files, we installed them on the printer from a USB stick, after which they appeared in the printer's user-friendly 22.8cm colour touchscreen. At £100 each, they aren't cheap but we used them for scanning to and printing from all our cloud accounts directly at the operator panel.
Costing £125, the ColourControl app enforces printing restrictions at the control panel and with it linked up to our Active Directory server, we applied user-based PIN restrictions to authorise colour usage. Kyocera also offers a USB card reader kit for walk-up authentication using security keys.
The 2552ci isn't totally bereft of standard cloud features, as integral support for Google Cloud Print and AirPrint can be enabled from the main web console. We had no problems printing directly from our iPad and used the free MyPanel iOS app to link up with our EverNote, Dropbox and OneDrive accounts to print from and scan to them.
The printer returned the quoted speeds across all our A4 and A3 colour and mono tests, while its 1200dpi engine delivered stunning print quality with razor sharp text and superbly detailed mono photographs. It really comes alive with colour in the mix; our test photos and A3 posters had real pizzazz with excellent colour balance, detail and not even a hint of banding in large single colour areas.
Our colour chart revealed extremely smooth transitions across complex colour fades (even on A3 paper), while grey shades using equal mixes of C, Y and M toner were perfectly reproduced. Along with a host of paper handling features, the Windows driver offers a Vivid setting which made our A3 posters even more fetching.
The TASKalfa 2552ci isn't the fastest laser MFP on the block but it's easily the most versatile and cheapest to run. If you can overcome the initial price barrier, there's no doubt in our minds this is the perfect choice for producing high-volume, high-quality advertising and marketing material.
This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 274
1200 x 1200dpi A3 colour laser MFP
600dpi A3 colour flatbed scanner
1GHz FreeScale CPU
32GB M.2 SSD
5 x USB 2
2 x 500-sheet cassette (A4 and SRA3)
Rec. monthly duty cycle – 4,000 pages
602 x 665 x 790mm WDH
1yr on-site warranty