Sharp AL-2040 Review
While this multi-function printer is no longer available, there are still replacement toners, drums and other parts available for sale when needed. This compact but powerful unit is ideal for the home office or for small businesses where space is an issue. The Sharp AL-2040 can handle copy and print jobs at a more economical price than their larger counterparts.
At 20 ½” wide, 17.75” wide, and 17.75” deep, the AL-2040 is best suited for a shelf or credenza, rather than a desk top.
The scanning unit uses an 8 ½ “x 14” stationary platen. It features an automatic document feeder (ADF) that allows for up to 50 legal sized originals (8 ½” x 14”) single-sided only. More originals can be hand-fed into the feeder as the numbers drop. The unit can produce up to 20 copies per minute, with a maximum of up to 99 copies.
There is a built-in network card which allows users to share printing capabilities with other colleagues on their network. The separate toner cartridge and drum allows for easier maintenance as well as more economical cartridge changes.
THE AL-2040 printer has a resolution of 600 x 600, which is considered photo quality. The scanner has a resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi, and the copier has a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi (256 grayscale.) The zoom range is from 25% to 400% and can be changed in increments of 1%, or via preset jumps.
The front control panel for the AL-2040 is easy to navigate, and won’t cause you to look through the manual every time you want to use it. You can select the quantity, exposure and magnification of your project, as well as select the ‘toner save’ mode. There are indicators to warn you of low toner levels, paper jams and parts that need to be repaired or replaced. The indicator does not tell you where the paper jam is, so you will have to spend some time investigating and searching for it.
There are two paper trays that can hold up to 250 sheets each, with a 50 sheet bypass. Typically one try is used for letter sized paper, (8 ½”x11”) and one for legal sized paper (8 ½”x14”.) Smaller sized paper can be used as well, such as envelopes or non-standard sheets.
The AL-2040 comes with a standard USB connection and is compatible with most Windows Platforms including 98, 2000, Vista and XP. The user manual is easy to follow, and installing the drivers is a fairly easy process.
The unit is equipped with 16 MG of memory and a built in Ethernet support, making it network ready and easy to set up and start sharing with other users immediately.
There are three exposure modes with the AL-2040: manual, auto and photo. Duplex print capabilities are built-in to the AL-2040, so double-sided printouts can be achieved without any user intervention (from single copies only.)
The 250 sheet capacity of the paper trays can be extremely undersized, even for a small business. Many companies buy packages of 500, and even cases of 10-500 sheet packs. Being able to dump the entire package into the tray provides a convenience that may seem trivial, but in an office environment time is money. When users are busy putting paper into trays instead of doing their jobs, productivity gets lost, and the company loses money.
Although the copy speed of 20 sheets per minute is more typical of modern-day copiers, it can still seem quite slow if you have a very large project or document to print. As your business expands, you may find your printing needs will expand as well. Larger businesses need to invest in larger copiers/printers, and they usually have the space and funds to do so. The same can be said with the 16-page per minute printout capability.
This 3-in-1 is best suited for individual users or very small offices, where high-quality printing jobs are not required often.