Konica Minolta's magicolour 1690MF is a compact multifunction device with a colour laser printer, flatbed scanner, and fax. It connects to your PC either via USB or 10/100 ethernet.

The beige and dark gray Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF has a 50-sheet automatic document feeder, making it easy to copy or fax multipage documents. The 100-sheet input tray for the printer may be adequate for small or home offices, but if you plan to approach the 3,500-page-per-month duty cycle (as rated by Konica Minolta), you might want to purchase the optional 500-sheet paper tray for £81. Another option worth considering is the automatic duplexing unit that allows you to print on both sides of a sheet of paper.

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Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF: colour printer

Many colour laser printers these days use a single-pass method of colour printing, where the paper goes through the printer once as the toner is placed. The Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF uses four passes for colour prints, however, so its rated speed for colour documents is just 5 pages a minute. When it comes to monochrome documents, the 1690MF needs only a single pass, so the rate speed is a quick 20 pages per minute.

Not surprisingly, the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF didn't match the company's speed claims in our timed tests (few printers, if any, do match the company's ratings), but print speeds were zippy nonetheless.

Our 10-page black-and-white Word document test took just 39 seconds for the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF to complete. Our one-page Word document test took 11 seconds to print - in our experience, most printers take at least 15 seconds, so 11 seconds is pretty quick. In our test involving a 22MB Photoshop file, the 1690MF took 41 seconds, a little on the slow side but faster than most colour lasers in the 1690MF's class.

Unlike higher-end laser printers, the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF does not have a Postscript processor. It uses host-based processing, meaning that your computer prepares the file for printing and transfers it to the printer.

The prints from the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF were of Very Good quality. Text was clean and sharp, even at small point sizes. Thin curved lines were smooth and unbroken. Colour ramps were also smooth, with only a little banding in the green bar. Colour photos on plain paper looked good, with pleasing skin tones.

The copies printed from the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF were also pretty impressive: a colour copy of a magazine cover was clean and easy to read, and accurately reproduced colours and details. A copy of our resolution test page revealed that the unit had a bit of difficulty resolving some of the finest lines, but it was definitely good enough for most copying tasks.

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NEXT: the scanner

Konica Minolta's magicolour 1690MF is a compact multifunction device with a colour laser printer, flatbed scanner, and fax. It connects to your PC either via USB or 10/100 ethernet.

Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF: Scanner

Scans of a colour photo on the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF were dark and heavy on the reds. Shadows were blocked up and some small text on a recipe card in our test photo was difficult to read - something most scanners we've tested haven't had much trouble with. Our grayscale resolution test was also lacking in detail, with the lines looking heavy and black.

While using the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF's scanner, we found the setting choices in the software confusing. There are four settings: True colour, Grayscale, Photo, and Black and White. The Photo setting doesn't actually do colour photos, it only does black and white photos.

Also, we were unable to perform a network push scan, which uses the buttons on the scanner to set up a scan job that is transferred to a PC on the same network. Konica says that it is possible to do this. The documentation on this setup is incomplete, and it took awhile for the HP engineer we worked with to come up with the proper instructions. We had no problem with push scans over USB 2.0, and importing a scan from Photoshop worked over both USB 2.0 and ethernet.

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The scanner was fast, but part of the reason the scanner is so fast is that its resolution is lower than that of most scanners found in multifunction devices at the same price. Also, the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF's scanner is able to output only 24-bit scans, not the 48-bit scans that are more common in photo-centric scanners, which of course the 1690MF is not.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

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Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF: Specs

  • Colour laser printer, copier, scanner, fax
  • Laser Beam Printing
  • Printer Standard Resolution: 1200x600dpi
  • Fax Speed: 33.6Kbps
  • Automatic Redial
  • Speed Dials: 220
  • Group Dials: 20
  • PC Fax
  • Copier Resolution: 600x600dpi
  • Scanner Type: CCD Image Sensor
  • Scanner Optical Resolution: 600x600dpi
  • TWAIN scan, Windows WIA scan, Scan-to-Email, Scan-to-FTP, Scan-to-USB, Scan-to-SMB
  • Maximum Paper Size: A4
  • Paper Handling Input 1: 200 Sheet Multi-purpose Tray
  • Paper Handling Output: 100 Sheets face down
  • 128MB
  • 10 BaseT/100 Base-TX Ethernet
  • 405x427x432mm
  • 20.8kg
  • Colour laser printer, copier, scanner, fax
  • Laser Beam Printing
  • Printer Standard Resolution: 1200x600dpi
  • Fax Speed: 33.6Kbps
  • Automatic Redial
  • Speed Dials: 220
  • Group Dials: 20
  • PC Fax
  • Copier Resolution: 600x600dpi
  • Scanner Type: CCD Image Sensor
  • Scanner Optical Resolution: 600x600dpi
  • TWAIN scan, Windows WIA scan, Scan-to-Email, Scan-to-FTP, Scan-to-USB, Scan-to-SMB
  • Maximum Paper Size: A4
  • Paper Handling Input 1: 200 Sheet Multi-purpose Tray
  • Paper Handling Output: 100 Sheets face down
  • 128MB
  • 10 BaseT/100 Base-TX Ethernet
  • 405x427x432mm
  • 20.8kg

OUR VERDICT

The Konica Minolta Magicolor 1690MF is a capable colour laser multifunction device. With very good printed output, handy features like the automatic document feeder and built-in fax machine, and 10/100BaseT Ethernet networking, the 1690MF is a good fit for small or home offices looking to produce high-quality office documents. Scanning is its only weakness, with the photo software bug, difficult push scanning over the network, and murky scans; the scanner works best when used as part of the copy function.

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