There's usually precious little that we can say about the design aspects of a laser printer, largely because (with a few exceptions) printer vendors tend to assume that the buyers for such things want them for drab corporate offices, and as such, tones such as beige and light grey tend to rule the roost. Fuji Xerox's inexpensive DocuPrint M205b at least tries to escape the beige hole by being white and slightly curved instead. Otherwise, it's undeniably a multifunction printer, with a simple control panel that features a backlit LCD panel. At 8.9kg, it's actually surprisingly light for a printer of this size, although with dimensions of 358x197x208mm, you'll still need a solid amount of desk space set aside for it.
The DocuPrint M205b is a multifunction monochrome laser printer at a relatively appealing AU$199 price point. Fuji Xerox rates its print speed at a relatively modest (by laser standards) 24ppm, but then this isn't designed as a whole-of-office monster printer but rather something you might pop onto your desk, presuming you had enough space for it. The scan resolution is 1200x1200dpi, and scanning to an attached USB drive or application on a host PC or Mac is supported.
What you won't find in the DocuPrint M205b is a host of connection options. We've perhaps become a bit spoilt in this regard, with many devices offering up Ethernet and Wi-Fi options, but the DocuPrint M205b is a USB 2.0-only zone. If you want to network it, you'll have to do so by sharing it from a host PC. Likewise, duplexing is a feature that's creeping into printers in this kind of price zone, but if you want the DocuPrint M205b to duplex, you'll have to do so manually.
Toner cartridges for the DocuPrint M205b come in either standard or high-yield varieties with claimed page outputs of 1000 and 2200 pages respectively. We found the standard cartridges online for around AU$59 and the high-yield for AU$99. If you got full-yield, that would equate to 5.9c per page for the standard cartridge and 4.5c per page for the high-yield cartridges.
The backlit LCD is rudimentary, with three buttons at the side to cover the on-screen menu functions. It certainly works, but it's not a particularly flash solution. The toner cartridge for the DocuPrint M205b comes pre-installed, but requires a turn of a lock panel to activate; if you fail to do this (as we did) you'll initially be told that there's no toner cartridge installed. Otherwise, the installation of the DocuPrint M205b is absolutely stock-standard stuff, and we hit no other obstacles prior to printing.
In terms of printing, we were very pleased with the quality of the DocuPrint M205b's output, and page speeds were close enough to Fuji Xerox's claimed speeds to be acceptable. A single, very warm, page was printed in 9.6 seconds. A full minute's printing churned through 19 pages, which is only slightly below the manufacturer's claim. Given how far short so many printers fall from the "up to" speeds that vendors love so much, that's actually quite an achievement, even if it does fall short.
The low-end laser printer market is rather glutted at the moment with entry level models, but it's relatively rare to see a multifunction laser at this kind of price point. The flipside to that cheap arrangement lies in the lack of networking. If you're a sole printer operator, it's a fine purchase, but those who need to share it will need to factor in the costs of running a PC to keep it shared.