Sharp AL-1641 Review
This 3-in-1 multi-functional unit was discontinued in 2005; however, replacement parts, toner cartridges and drums are still available for purchase. The AL-1641 will suit home offices or very small businesses. Consumables will need to be changed more often, due its smaller size, but it does its job quite well at an economical price, while using less space.
The 44 pound unit has a height of 19.6” x 11.7” which makes it suitable for either a desktop (depending on the overall size) or a shelf.
The AL-1641 uses a stationary platen 8 ½”x14” in size. By using the stationary model as opposed to the sliding platform, the unit can keep to its original size without having to go bigger. There is a 30 sheet capacity for the automatic document feeder (single sided, legal size originals.) If more than 30 sheets are needed, they can be put in manually as the project completes. With 6MG of memory, the AL1641 can produce copies of up to 16 pages per minute, with a maximum of 99 copies.
There are three different exposure modes built in to this model: auto, photo and manual. This is a fairly standard feature. The default resolution is set to 600 x 300 dpi, while the photo is set at 600 x 600 dpi (at 256 grayscale.) The user has the option of changing the magnification levels from 25% to 400% using preset jumps or 1% increments.
The control panel on the AL-1641 is fairly easy to navigate, and with just a few buttons you can print, copy and scan any project. You don’t have to pull out the owner’s manual every time you want to do the smallest task, as can happen with larger, more complicated models. Users can select the magnification, quantity and exposure levels; paper tray selection and ‘toner save’ mode is also available. There are indicators letting you know of paper jams, when it’s time to replace the toner and drum and other printer errors. It does not indicate exactly where the paper jam is located inside the machine, so you’ll need to spend some time figuring that out yourself.
There are two sliding paper trays, and each can hold up to 250 sheets of paper. Normally, one tray is used for letter sized paper, and one for legal size. You can also manually place non-standard size paper into the tray, if you need to print on envelopes, etc.
Minimum system requirements for printing are an IBM or compatible PC with a CD-ROM drive; Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0 or 2000.
The scanner is compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP.
There is no capability to expand or increase the memory capacities. With only 6 MG of memory (shared with the copier) some may consider it ‘archaic’ compared to newer models. As your business grows and you find your printing needs increase, you will likely have to go out and buy a whole new unit. This can be an expense that puts a business in financial constraints, depending on the size of the business and the level of profits that are achieved from year to year.
A copy speed of 16 pages per minute, and print speed of 12 pages per minute is very slow in today’s standards of at least 20 pages per minute of copy speed and 16 pages of print speed. It can become cumbersome if there are large projects to print on a regular basis, especially if it is shared by more than one user.
The paper trays only hold up to 250 sheets, which is undersized by today’s standards. Many packages are sold in 500 sheet reams, and some companies buy in bulk of cases of 10 or more 500-sheet packages. It adds a great level of convenience to be able to dump the whole ream of paper into one paper tray. This saves time and money for the user and the company.