Sharp AL-1551 Review
This 3-in-1 multi-functional device was discontinued in 2002. Replacement parts, toner cartridges and drums are still readily available for purchase, however. The smaller size is popular among small businesses and home office users. The result is that the replacement for consumables is more frequent than its larger floor model counterparts. These units are a good choice for copy and print jobs because of their smaller size and economical price.
The unit weighs 56 pounds, with dimensions of 20.4”x18.3.” This makes it a bit too large and bulky to fit on a standard sized-desk, but will do nicely on a shelf or credenza.
The AL-1551 uses a stationary platen of 8 ½” x 14” for scanning. The ADF (automatic document feeder) can handle up to 30 legal-sized originals, single sided. More can be manually fed as the job completes. With 6MG of memory, the AL-1551 is able to scan in one original, and produce copies at a rate of 15 pages per minute, with a maximum of 99 copies.
There are three different exposure modes that come with the AL-1551: manual, photo and auto. The default, or automatic resolution is 600 x 300 dpi (dots per inch.) The photo resolution gives actual photo quality resolution of 600 x 600 dpi (256 grayscale.) The magnification ranges from 50% - 200%, and can be changed in 1% increments, or six presets.
The control panel on the AL-1551 is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You won’t need to pull out your manual just to complete one small task. Users can indicate the exposure, quantity, magnification, as well as select the paper tray to print from. There is also a ‘toner save’ mode that users can select. Indicators will tell you when it’s time to replace the toner cartridge or drum. Paper jams will also be indicated on the panel. The exact location of the jam isn’t specified so you may need to spend some time looking for it.
The sliding paper tray holds up to 250 sheets of paper, of either legal sized (8 ½” x 14”) or letter sized (8 ½” x 11”.) The maximum sized paper is 10” x 14” (originals) and the minimum size is 3 ½” x 5.5” Printing envelopes or other non-standard paper is a snap.
The AL-1551 allows for full hands-free duplex copying (from single-sided originals.)
This unit is compatible with the following systems: IBM or compatible, with CD-ROM; Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0 and 2000.
There is no capability of expanding or increasing the paper or memory capacity.
The copy speed of 15 pages per minute and printer speed of 12 pages per minute is considered slow by today’s standards. Many newer models can produce at a rate of 20 pages or more per minute. This can become cumbersome if you have many large jobs to print and copy throughout the day.
The 250 sheet capacity per paper tray is also considered under-capacity compared to larger and newer models. Many businesses buy their paper in reams of 500 sheets, and some companies buy cases of them. It is much easier and time-saving to be able to dump the entire ream of paper into the tray, especially if large print and copy jobs are required on an on-going basis.
Many units today come with a fax machine feature as well. Many businesses still have a need to fax documents, contracts, and other important items to their colleagues, clients and associates.
In its prime, the AL-1551 was considered an efficient and valuable multi-function unit. With the many advances in technology and equipment, it is considered by many to be out of date. Businesses may find that as they grow and expand, the printer will outlive its capacity and usefulness. If this happens, then the unit may be better off in a home office setting where printing needs are less. It’s a good unit for those who don’t print or copy large quantities on a regular basis.