OVERVIEW: The Sharp AL-1540CS has all the features of its older brother, the AL-1530CS, but includes a 30-page automatic document feeder so you don’t have to stand around the copier all day feeding it.
The 42 pound all-in-one copier has a footprint 20.4” x 17.5”. The size is a little large to put on a desk but will feel right at home on any credenza.
The AL-1540CS uses a stationary 10” x 14” platen for scanning instead of a sliding platform to keep its footprint no bigger than its physical size.
With a maximum resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, the AL-1540CS can produce up to 99 copies. Scanning the original once and storing the image to memory allows the AL-1540CS to make copies at the rate of 15 pages per minute. The Automatic Document Feeder (or ADF) can hold up to 30 legal-size originals. The user can change magnifications from 50% up to 200%--not the widest range compared to other models but the most commonly used.
The sliding paper tray can hold up to 250 sheets of either letter (8½” x 11”) or legal (8½” x 14”) size paper. Non-standard sizes up to 10” x 14” can be placed singly on the scan platform.
Using either Parallel or the USB 1.1 connection, the AL-1540CS can be connected to a computer to double as a modest laser printer. In a small office, the Sharp can be set up to be a shared printer provided the computer it’s connected to remains on during the hours the printer would get used. When connected to a computer, the AL-1540CS can scan color images with resolutions up to 600 x 1,200 dpi.
This all-in-one Sharp was made for compactness, not expandability. While it offers an automatic document feeder, there are no options available to increase its paper or memory capacities, or to make it a network printer.
The design of the AL series is primarily based to focus on copier features. During its prime, a 15 ppm copy speed was impressive for a small copier. In printer mode, the touted 12 ppm speed can only be achieved at lowest resolution (but that’s the caveat for any printer specs). Don’t expect the faster print speeds of 20 ppm that’s typical of current B&W laser printers.
The 250-sheet paper tray is woefully undersized for office copy use. It’s typical for even a small office to go through a ream of paper in a single day. And it’s also common for offices buy paper in 500-sheet reams, if not a 10-ream case. For all you office folk out there: How many times have you taken a ream of paper from the supply cabinet to fill an empty printer, only to find the printer’s tray only has the capacity to hold half that amount? Now, next question: what usually happens to the rest of that ream? By the end of the day you’ll see the remaining ream somewhere near the printer, sheets pulled haphazardly by people who needed just a couple of blank sheets. By the time the printer needs to be refilled again, the state of that paper is now so uneven and disheveled it’s likely to jam in the printer. For personal and home use, a 250-sheet tray is sufficient, so long as you’re not someone whose home is their office. Having a tray that you can dump an entire ream of paper into would be something any office would invest a few more dollars for.
INK / TONER NEEDS:
The AL-1540CS has separate toner and drum to help reduce overall consumables costs. Sharp offers a choice for toner: the standard-size toner (4,000 pages at 5%), or the High-yield (6,000 pages) unit. The drum unit will need to be replaced ever 18, 000 pages.
During the course of changing toner, people often forget to keep track when it’s time to change the drum. Combo-packages are available that offer the drum with several toners. By the time the toners are consumed, the remaining drum is replaced. These combo-packages make maintenance easy and increases overall longevity and print quality.
Included is Sharp’s desktop document management software. The software does a decent job in giving you control of the unit’s various printing and scanning functions.
Unfortunately, the software is only for Wintel machines. Apple machines running OS 10.3 and above may be able to use the printing and scanning functions native to OS X or through 3rd party applications, like Photoshop.
For a bare-bones all-in-one, the Sharp AL-1540CS delivers the features most small offices want. -- Mel Myers