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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