Sharp AL-1661CS Review
Originally priced at $799, the Sharp AL-1661CS has fallen significantly from its status as a top of the line copy machine since its 2005 release date. The unit, though now available in refurbished form for bargain basement prices, is still too flimsy and sluggish to be worth considering for anything other than as a large paper weight.
While the Sharp AL-1661CS is capable of printing, copying, scanning, and faxing, it does all of its functions at a sub par level. The only of these functions that is operational at an acceptable level is the unit’s scan features, which can be done is notably good quality as well as full color.
The Sharp AL-1661CS is equipped with a built in automatic document feeder that is pretty much the crown jewel of this piece of hardware. It is especially unique in that it can not only load 30 pages of copy or scan material automatically but is capable of reversing as well. With a RADF, both sides of input material can be scanned by the machine without user intervention and, with the aid of the built in duplex print capabilities, double sided output can be fully automated as well. Utilizing the RADF in unison with the duplex print feature can make double sided paper handling truly practical, and thus reduce paper usage and costs by virtually half.
Other paper handling comes in the form of a 250 sheet Letter and Legal sized paper tray and a 50 sheet bypass tray that is suited to handle envelopes, card stock, and other special media types. The unit’s print resolution tops out at 600 x 600 dots per inch, which is, theoretically, an acceptable resolution for black and white text, though the Sharp AL-1661CS has proven to underperform other devices on quality performance lab tests.
Even upon the Sharp AL-1661CS’s release, its incredibly slow print speed of 11.8 pages per minute was already the slowest on the market, and by a full 3 pages per minute. Graphic printing was also the slowest in the multifunctional printer category and was tested at 5.2 pages per minute. This, remember, was in 2005. If the printer was already well behind the curve back then, you can imagine how it compares to the high powered, affordable laser printers seen today.
The Sharp AL-1661CS offers ridiculous specifications, such as its 18 number storage space for speed dials. In a market where self respecting fax machines hold thousands of fax numbers, 18 is laughable. Its text quality was and is low in comparison to other units as well, both when it was released and now.
As if poor specifications weren’t enough, this clunker is loud. The unit operates at a higher decibel rate than is normally seen in a laser printer; effectively eliminating one of the major perks of owning a laser device instead of an inkjet. Its only respectable function, scanning, is as slow as one would expect on this ill performing model, scanning 4 x 5 photographs in a full minute.