Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw review

We enjoyed using the Ecosys due to its quiet operation, but it's costly to run

  • High print quality; Long-lasting drum
  • Steep running costs; Add-ons are expensive

If you don't need scans or copies, but colour is all-important, Kyocera's Ecosys P5021cdw might just fit the bill. 

It's a reasonably compact colour laser printer, capable of a claimed 21ppm speed in black or colour. Its standard 250-sheet paper tray is supplemented by a 50-sheet multipurpose feed you could add another 250-sheet tray, but doing so will cost almost as much as the printer itself. Duplex printing comes as standard, along with wireless networking and Gigabit Ethernet.

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As with other Kyocera Ecosys printers, the P5021cdw features a ceramic, long-life drum here it's guaranteed for the first of three years or 100,000 pages, and in practice it's likely to last for the printer's lifetime. In theory, that cuts down on waste and costs, but while the first is undoubtedly true, here the second benefit doesn't materialise.

Kyocera ships the printer with standard, 1,200-page toners. After they're exhausted, you can buy replacements rated at 2,600 pages (black) and 2,200 pages (cyan, magenta and yellow). But even using these, and with no drum to replace, running costs are a punishing 12.7p per page.

The P5021cdw prints with a minimum of fuss. There's some fan noise, but generally it's well muted and free of any harsh edges. In our tests, which include the time taken to spool the print job, it came quite close to Kyocera's stated speeds, managing text at 19.5ppm and colour graphics at 17.1ppm. At 8.8ppm, duplex print speed was quite reasonable. At the highest quality setting, the printer needed 38 seconds to produce two 10 x 8in photos, and 37 seconds to print six 6 x 4in photos onto three pages.

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Print quality was generally very high, with predictably good black text and crisp colour graphics. Shade gradients were seamless, while colour fills emerged looking solid and even. We were less impressed by its results in our photo tests, which printed with a pronounced blue-green tint.

Changing the colour mode to Vivid made things less aquatic, while selecting "Text and photos" greatly improved all but one subject, but that's a little fiddly. Photos printed from an inserted USB key didn't suffer the same issues.

A reasonably priced, reasonably good colour laser printer, the P5021cdw is let down mainly by its high running costs even a black page will cost 2p. As such, it's hard to recommend over some of our 5-star printers.


A reasonably priced, reasonably good colour laser printer, the P5021cdw is let down mainly by its high running costs – even a black page will cost 2p. As such, it's hard to recommend over some of our 5-star printers.

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