Panasonic KX MC6040

The Panasonic KX-MC6040 has good extra features but stumbles badly with color accuracy, blurring fine details in darkness

Pros: Extra features make it a full multifunction printer, good price
Cons: Bad color accuracy, poor photo printing, images too dark
Color Accuracy: C-
Color Speed: C+
B&W Speed: B-
Features: A
Value: B-
Price: $749

We allowed the Panasonic KX-MC6040 into this review even though, strictly speaking, it’s not a color printer. It’s a multifunction device with a scanner and fax machine. But for a $749 retail price, you could use it as a printer that just happens to have extra features.

However, for that to happen, it would need at least adequate performance in terms of color accuracy and speed. It doesn’t achieve that.

Products in this review:

When color matches quality and price
Brother HL-4070CDW
Epson B 500DN
Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CP3525x
Lexmark C734dn
Xerox Phaser 6280

We are not sure why the KX-MC6040 produces such bad images, but, especially when working with darker colors, it doesn’t get close to the test color. When working with fine lines on a dark image, it’s a safe bet that much of it will be washed out or painted over.

In one test image, two people are wearing GCN jackets and standing in front of a glass wall. In the pure image, their reflections are clearly visible against the glass. But in the image printed by the KX-MC6040, it looks like both people are standing against a solid black wall. All the finer details are gone. The KX-MC6040 did slightly better with photos and images that were composed of all light colors, such as one image of a huge forest fire. But most images will be a mix of the two, so the KX-MC6040 will destroy at least some of the details.

And the KX-MC6040 is a little slow, too, although that is more forgivable than the image problems. It finished our 30-page text document in 1 minute, 44 seconds, which isn’t terrible. But it took 3 minutes, 12 seconds to output our 30-page graphical document, which is a speed we would have expected in the previous generation of the printer.

Even with the flaws, the KX-MC6040 wouldn't be a terrible purchase because of its low price. If you only, or at least mostly, work in black and white, the KX-MC6040 might be a good choice for a slightly below-average printer that comes with an extra scanner and fax machine for your office. But you can’t rely on it for color images, especially darker ones.

Panasonic Communications Company of North America, 201-392-4271, www.panasonic.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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