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-- by Jonathan Blackwood
The Sharp F-2700M multifunction device is packed with features: It's a printer, a "convenience copier," a fax machine and a phone in one small (15 pounds, 6.7 by 14.2 by 16.5 inches) unit. Because it uses the Windows Printing System, printing starts almost immediately upon command. The printer module is a 4-page-per-minute, 300-dot-per-inch laser. But although print quality is excellent, most standalone laser printers offer 600dpi output at half the price, and the F-2700M doesn't print envelopes.
As for the facsimile function, the unit has 512KB of RAM standard, which can hold 39 pages in memory. You can upgrade it to 1MB, which will give you storage space for 95 pages. What all this memory means is that the F-2700M will continue to receive faxes even if the unit's 100-sheet paper tray runs out. You can store up to 50 numbers for automatic dialing and block reception from as many as 10 numbers.
The F-2700M costs $1,249. Admittedly, that price will normally be discounted at most retail outlets, and the price is $550 less than some other multifunction laser devices, such as the Toshiba TF-601. But $1,249 is quite a daunting jump from ink jet multifunction devices with similar capabilities, such as the Canon MultiPASS C2500 (on our Recommended List). The Canon can generally be found at stores for around $600, and its output is nearly as good as the Sharp's.
Nonetheless, the F-2700M is a snap to set up and easy to live with. If you feel you need genuine laser output for your important business documents, and want a small machine that combines several functions, look for the F-2700M at your local retailer. If you can get a good discount, this machine will make you happy.