capsule review

Sharp AL-1661CS

At a Glance
  • Sharp AL-1661CS All-In-One Pinter

    PCWorld Rating

Sharp AL-1661CS
Photograph: Rick Rizner

At $799, the Sharp AL-1661CS is midpriced among the laser MFPs we tested this month. The front panel includes buttons (with big text labels) for copying, printing, scanning, and faxing, as well as a large LCD. In addition to a speed-dial pad that can hold up to 18 numbers, the console includes a phone pad. One minor annoyance: The AL-1661CS is loud.

Text printed at 11.8 ppm--the slowest rate from a laser MFP by more than 3 ppm. Graphics speed was also slower than average: The AL-1661CS printed grayscale graphics at 5.2 ppm, compared with an average of 5.6 ppm for the group.

The AL-1661CS was the only laser MFP we tested that received a lower score than Outstanding for text quality. Granted, it earned a Good on text overall, but letters in our test document looked thicker and less sharp than those printed by all other models. Also, in our line art test narrow lines printed as a single, bled-together block instead of remaining distinct. While this unit's test grayscale photograph merited a score of Good, in part for its well-balanced contrast, it still had a fuzzy, grainy texture.

Copies printed at 6.2 ppm--faster than any other MFP we tested--and received a Very Good score for quality, putting the AL-1661CS on a par with most other laser MFPs. Copies of grayscale graphics showed good detail and attractively light contrast.

The AL-1661CS excels as a scanner: It was the only laser MFP to earn a score of Outstanding for its color scans, though its grayscale scans received a more modest Good rating. Unfortunately, its scan speeds were the slowest of all the MFPs we tested; the AL-1661CS took 59 seconds to scan a 4-by-5-inch photo at 100 dpi.

The AL-1661CS comes with the most extensive software of the laser MFPs we tested. Once you scan from the front panel, you can choose whether you want to save your image in the ABBYY Fine Reader 5 optical character recognition application, in Adobe Photoshop, or in the company's own Sharpdesk software. Sharpdesk lets you organize your documents in an Explorer-style interface that includes preset categories such as receipts, expense reports, and statements. It also includes image editing capabilities and can help you with documents such as brochures and contracts. Once you preview an image, you can also indicate what type of document it is, such as a photo or fax.

The Sharp AL-1661CS offers a full-featured scanner and copier, but its text quality and print speeds are subpar.

Sharp AL-1661CS


Print: Rated 16 ppm, 600 by 600 dpi maximum resolution, 250 sheets input, 250 output. Scan: 600 by 1200 dpi, 8-bit external color. Copy: 16 ppm black and white; 99 copies. One-year warranty, 12-hour daily toll-free phone support.
$799
800/237-4277
www.sharpusa.com

Lisa Cekan

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Sharp AL-1661CS offers a full-featured scanner and copier, but its text quality and print speeds are subpar.

    Pros

    • Full-featured scanner and copier

    Cons

    • Text quality and print speeds are subpar
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