If your printing needs are documents with black text and greyscale images, then a mono laser printer would be more suitable than a colour inkjet printer because of its advantages. Laser printers print crisper text and deliver better print economy, than an average inkjet printer.
Mono laser printers and multi-function devices (MFD) have become affordable over the years. The average price of a mono laser printer is around Rs.5,000 and a multi-function device costs around Rs.9,000. They cost twice as much as their inkjet counterparts, but that’s justified considering the print quality, economy and printing speeds they offer. Also, laser printers aren’t as bulky as they used to be. With improved designs, they are now almost as compact as inkjet printers. One such device is the Panasonic KX-MB1520, which incorporates a scanner and Fax. It belongs to the KX-MB1500 series of MFDs, which has three variants. The KX-MB1500 doesn’t feature fax and the KX-MB1530 offers an automatic document feeder (ADF) for the scanner for unattended paper feeding, be it for scanning, copying or fax.
With an integrated flatbed scanner, the KX-MB1520 doubles as a photocopier. The most striking feature of this printer is its design. Its footprint is almost the same as an inkjet printer thanks to the paper tray that resides within the printer, as opposed to protruding out like in many other models. Also, despite an integrated scanner, the height isn’t too much. This allows this printer to easily fit into tight spaces. According to Panasonic, the new compact design is 40 percent smaller than their conventional model.
The paper tray can hold paper sizes only up to A4
The printer uses a toner cartridge with a built-in drum and it costs Rs.4,100. However, with a rated yield of 2,500 pages, the print economy translates to Rs.1.64 per print. The print resolution is 600x600 dpi, which is the standard resolution of an entry-level mono-laser printer. The paper tray can hold 150 sheets, plus there’s a manual feed, which can take one sheet at a time, in case you wish to use different quality of paper or a letterhead.
The optical resolution of the scanner is 600x1200 dpi, whereas, the interpolated resolution is 19200x19200 dpi. The scanning and copying modes have very useful functions, thanks to the printer’s firmware and the Multi-Function Station software that comes bundled. The scanner has four mode (both in the software and the printer’s firmware) – Viewer, File, E-mail, OCR and Custom. You can set the resolution, page size, brightness, contrast, colour mode (colour or greyscale) and file type (JPG, PDF, TIFF and BMP) for each mode. After scanning using a mode, the scanned image is saved to the specified location or automatically opened in an OCR program installed on your PC or attached to a new email message. The scan resolution can be set between 100 to 600 dpi in the software.
The cartridge yields 2,500 pages
The copier mode allows you to set the contrast, copy size (A4, Letter and B5), reduction (up to 25 percent), zoom (up to 400 percent) and page layout. The page layout option is the most useful – you can choose to magnify a page across 2 or 4 pages, combine up to 8 pages in a single copy, copy the front and back of an ID / visiting card on a single sheet without having to re-insert pages. This greatly eases the copying process and saves time and paper.
The fax function allows sending and receiving faxes using the built-in 33.6 Kbps modem. The printer has 3.5 MB of memory to store 100 contacts and around 150 pages of fax should you run out of paper. There’s no handset, but you do have the speakerphone function to make phone calls.
The only connectivity that the printer offers is USB 2.0 interface. Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity would have been very useful for a shared environment.
Updated 20 Jun, 2013, 1:21 pm IST
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