Although it prints surprisingly good photos, the Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF colour laser multifunction printer has too many limitations for the price.

Konica Minolta's biggest problem with its Magicolour 2590MF colour laser multifunction is that better-designed machines (such as the Brother MFC-9440CN) can be had for around the same price. While this model works reasonably well, its design and scan quality could be better.

The core printer body is compact, but other features increase the overall size of the Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF. Thick feet extend from the rear base of the machine to balance the top scanner unit, which is set back to allow easier access to the 100-sheet output tray.

The Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF's standard input tray, which sticks halfway out the front, takes both plain paper (200 sheets) or envelopes and other thick media. The 50-sheet automatic document feeder is roomy. Paper-handling options are surprisingly pricey.

The Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF's control panel seems to aim for ease of use, offering a lot of one-touch buttons. The effort falls short, however, because the buttons are neither grouped logically nor (in some cases) labelled clearly; for instance, to select the type of document you're copying, you press a button labeled 'Quality'.

A monochrome LCD shows brief text and rudimentary symbols, but the messages can be cryptic. A small included booklet covering the Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF's basic operations is helpful.

Changing the Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF's toner cartridges is an involved, but not difficult, process. First you press a button on the front control panel to select the cartridge to be replaced. Then you lift the scanner unit and then a top panel, which brings with it a knot of internal mechanics.

Under all that you'll find a small opening where the selected cartridge, installed in a carousel, is presented for your attention. If you want to replace another cartridge at the same time, you must start over - close up the Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF completely, press the button and so forth.

The Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MF ships with a 4500-page black cartridge (the only size available). Costs per page are a little high. And the three 1500-page colour cartridges that come with the printer cost a lot each to replace, making the per page cost very expensive. Unless you print colour infrequently, the higher-capacity 4500-page versions are a better deal.

In our tests, the Konica Minolta Magicolour 2590MFF printed somewhat thick-looking text at a decent rate of 18.6 pages per minute (ppm), close to the vendor's spec of 20ppm. Graphics printed slowly - around 2.4ppm - and appeared yellowish but smooth. Copies also looked good. Colour scans were disappointing, however, coming out extremely murky.

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