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-- by Joel T. Patz
The Alps MD-4000 is an unusual color printer/scanner combo. Its unique Micro Dry ink is smudge-, fade- and waterproof, and it gives you excellent quality color output even on plain paper. While it's slow-rated at just 1 minute per page for black text and 2 minutes per page for color (3 to 5 minutes is more realistic)-the results are well worth the wait.
The MD-4000 Photo-Realistic Color Printer & Scanner's front panel opens to reveal four ribbons, the traditional black, cyan, yellow and magenta. If you mostly print black and white, Alps supplies a multicolor ribbon that uses three slots for black and only one for color; you can also use metallic inks. It prints a color page using one color ribbon at a time.
The MD-4000's output is exceptionally crisp. You can choose between 300x300-dot-per-inch and 600x600dpi output for color and 1200x600dpi output for plain black text and gray-scale images.
To use the MD-4000's single-pass scanner, you fold down the 100-sheet paper tray at the unit's back and insert one of two supplied document holders. One holder accommodates 4-by-6-inch photos, the other 8.5-by-11-inch originals. Scanning can take 2 to 6 minutes using the Alps Copy Studio program, which offers scan settings for 75dpi, 150dpi, 300dpi or 600dpi, and a choice of black and white, gray scale, 256 colors and full color.
The MD-4000 is a splendid choice if you want to print photographic-quality images, are disappointed with ink jet technology and can't afford a pricier alternative, such as the Tektronix Phaser 350 on our Recommended List.