Sharp AL-1551CS Review
The Sharp AL-1551CS multi-function printer/copier/scanner was discontinued in 2003, and is considered by most standards to be outdated; however, consumables such as toner cartridges, drums and replacement parts are still available and will suit most home offices, as well as small business operations with only a handful of employees. The smaller size of the unit is perfect for offices that have a limited amount of space.
At 67 pounds, and dimensions of 28” x 23” this is too large to fit on an average sized desk; but it will nicely fit on a sturdy credenza or shelf that is specially designed for printers.
The ADM (Automatic Document Feeder) is capable of up to 30 single-sided originals; more can be fed by hand as the levels go down. With 6 MG of memory that is shared with the copier, the AL-1551CS can produce copies at a rate of 15 pages per minute, to a maximum of 99 copies. It uses a stationary platen design of 8 ½” x 14.”
The AL-1551CS has three different exposure modes and resolutions (photo, manual and auto.) The photo quality of the unit is 600 x 600 dpi with 256 grayscale. The magnification level can be changed in increments of 1%, from 25% to 400% or in 6 preset ‘jumps.’
The printer can handle varying sized paper, from legal (8 ½” x 14”) to small envelopes (3.5” x 5.5”) It can print up to 12 pages per minute (black and white, laser.)
The control panel for the AL-1550CS is fairly easy to understand, so you won’t be intimidated when it comes time to print, copy or scan. Indicator lights will notify you of paper jams, low toner and drum replacement. You can select quantity, exposure, and magnification of your documents as well as control which paper tray you want to use. You can also select the ‘toner save’ option.
There are two paper trays that can each hold 250 sheets. Typically one is used for letter size paper (8 ½” x 11”) and one is for legal size paper (8 ½” x 14”.) Non-standard sized paper can be placed individually into the tray. The automatic document feeder has a capacity of 50 sheets.
Hardware equipment requires an IBM or compatible equipped with a CD-ROM drive and a bidirectional parallel interface. Windows 3.x, 95, 98, ME and 2000 are all compatible with the AL-1550CS.
Generally, the AL-1550CS is suitable if you don’t have massive printing needs, and there are not a lot of other users sharing these resources. It’s perfect for the home office, or very small businesses where extra space is at a premium.
When it first came on the market, the AL-1550CS was considered one of the prime products in its class. Today, there are better, faster and much more convenient multi-function units to choose from. Don’t expect the same level of service and quality from this unit as you may receive from newer models.
The 12 page per minute and 16 page per minute capabilities are woefully inadequate, compared to today’s standards. Many newer models can achieve 20 pages per minute and higher. Even small businesses have printing needs that need to be at that level.
The 250 sheets per tray is another feature that is undersized when it comes to office copying. Constantly filling up the paper trays can be cumbersome and frustrating, not to mention time wasting. Even the smallest of businesses can go through a ream of 500 sheets in one day. Many offices buy their paper in 500 sheet reams, and some even in cases of 10. Having the ability to dump an entire ream into the paper tray can make office operations run much smoother and are more convenient for everyone. This feature alone is worth spending a few extra dollars for.
The All-1551CS was made for its compactness, not for its expandability. There is no feature to increase the memory or add printer network capability.