Colour laser printers are far more affordable than they used to be and are now a valid solution for home users and small businesses as a speedy alternative to the inkjet. Konica Minolta has an impressive range and the 1690MF on test is an all-in-one that offers copying, scanning, printing and fax capabilities for just such environments.
It is relatively compact compared to some rival models and comes with a 200-sheet paper tray, 35-sheet automatic document feeder and 10/100Mbps Ethernet for attaching to a local network. A monochrome LCD, which is a little difficult to read in poor lighting, is well laid out for the most part and, although it can be a bit awkward to trawl through the various menus and adjust settings to begin with, this becomes easier with time.
Optional accessories include a duplex printing unit and 500-sheet paper feeder extension for larger jobs and, while the 1690MF is only a mid-range offering from Konica, it offers plenty of flexibility for a wide range of tasks.
Setup is pretty straightforward and instead of using a proprietary package to manage jobs, Konica has opted to supply PaperPort SE to catalogue scanned and shared content and help you organise documents.
Quality and setting adjustment is therefore done through the printer driver and although this is fairly limited in terms of adjusting print quality, there is an economy mode and paper selection to help get the most from your prints. There’s a decent amount of control over layout as well, with the ability to add watermarks or overlays and select from a range of paper types including envelopes, labels and postcards.
As mentioned, the main features of the printer offer a large amount of flexibility, including copying and optional duplex printing, two-in-one copying (resizing two documents to a single page) and poster copying for expanding an image onto multiple pages. Fax features include full address book storage and group destinations and it’s possible to scan directly to PC, email, fax destination or attached USB drives.
As expected, Konica’s machine is extremely fast, particularly for text-based printing where it comfortably hits speeds of around 20 pages per minute. Quality is flawless with crisp lettering and deep blacks, while images such as graphs and tables that may be included are similarly sharp and colourful.
When it comes to full-colour prints such as photos, it took just over 30 seconds to output a full-sized A4 print and we were pleased to see similarly impressive quality, particularly for a laser printer. Colour reproduction is accurate and although images can lose a little vibrancy, and finer details and subtle colour changes can be missed, it’s certainly capable of doing justice to colourful images designed to spice up presentations or reports.
Our one bugbear in this situation is that although the printer is capable of handling stock up to 209gsm, there isn’t a lot of noticeable control over quality and paper type and, while advanced settings are available, they are nowhere near as effective or as easy to use as those of photo-oriented inkjets.
This machine doesn’t really attempt to compete as a photo-capable device, then, but there’s very little to criticise in its performance from a business standpoint. It is fast, flexible, easy to use and produces excellent quality printouts, and though it is more expensive than some rivals, high-yield users and small businesses will benefit from its performance.
Company: Konica Minolta
Contact: 01908 200 400