Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF review

Konica Minolta’s magicolor 1690MF is a compact multifunction device with a colour laser printer, flatbed scanner, and fax with a 50-sheet automatic document feeder and a 100-sheet input tray. It connects to your Mac either via USB or 10/100 Ethernet.

Many colour laser printers these days use a single-pass method of colour printing, where the paper goes through the printer once as the toner is placed. The 1690MF uses four passes for colour prints, so its rated speed for colour documents is just 5 pages a minute (ppm). When it comes to monochrome documents it needs just a single pass, so the rate speed is a quick 20ppm.

Not surprisingly, the printer didn’t match the company’s speed claims in our tests, but print speeds were zippy nonetheless. Our one-page Word document test took 11 seconds to print. In our test involving a 22MB Photoshop file, the 1690MF took 41 seconds, faster than most colour lasers in the 1690MF’s class.

The prints from the 1690MF were very good quality. Text was clean and sharp, even at small point sizes. Photos on plain paper looked good, with pleasing skin tones. Copies printed from the 1690MF were also pretty impressive: a colour copy of a magazine cover was clean and accurately reproduced colours and details.

However, scans of a colour photo were dark and heavy on the reds. Shadows were blocked up and some small text was difficult to read. The scanner setting choices are confusing. There are four settings: True Color, Grayscale, Photo, and Black and White. The Photo setting doesn’t actually do colour photos, just black and white. Also, we were unable to perform a network push scan, where the scanner sends a scan to a Mac on the network. Konica says this requires turning on SMB sharing on your Mac and then registering the shared volume as a Speed Dial address through the printer’s web browser utility. We had no problem with push scans over USB 2.0, and importing a scan from Photoshop on our Mac worked over both USB 2.0 and Ethernet.

The scanner was fast, but that’s partly because its resolution is lower than similarly priced multifunction devices. Also, the 1690MF’s scanner outputs only 24-bit scans.

OUR VERDICT

The magicolor 1690MF is a capable multifunction device. With very good print output, handy features such as an automatic document feeder, built-in fax machine, and 10/100BaseT Ethernet networking, it’s a good fit for small or home offices. Scanning is its only weakness, with some confusion over settings, difficult push scanning over the network, and murky scans; the scanner works best when used as part of the copy function.

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