No-brainer budget buy
Review There are a good few people who run two printers; an inkjet for all the colour and photo work and a mono laser for quicker, cheaper, sharper black print. Samsung is looking at the home and one-per-desk customer with its ML-1640 mono laser. With a street price around £50, it’s close to being an impulse purchase and puts itself in the second printer market, too.
Samsung's ML-1640 mono laser printer
How simple can you make a mono laser printer? Nearly all the engine is in the drum and toner cartridge, so a paper feed mechanism and control electronics are the main extras and the rest is a plastic case. While Samsung’s ML-1640 is honed down to the bare minimum, all the essentials are there and, when closed, it has a very small footprint of just 353 x 298mm.
To print, though, the front panel has to be folded down as a paper feed tray and a flap folded out from the top surface to take the output. The tray can take up to 150 sheets of 75gsm paper at a time.
There’s no cover for the input tray, so the machine needs to be folded up again at the end of each session, or risk dust and spillages getting on the paper. It may not be a big hassle to put the paper away in a drawer, but rival machines include separate or integrated covers, to avoid this.
Controls comprise a Cancel button, a power and data LED, and a second for low toner. There's a bulge in the case at the back, which takes an IEC mains lead for power on the right and a USB cable on the left. Software comprises a driver and the Dr Printer browser-based troubleshooter.
A neat, small footprint, even with the bulge at the back
There are drivers for Windows from 2000 onwards, OS X from 10.3 and a ‘Unified Linux driver’, which refers to Ubuntu by name, but should work with other variants, too. The driver supports overlays and watermarks and can print up to 16 pages per sheet. There are also instructions for manual duplexing, though no duplexer nor second paper tray is available as an option.
@ Power Consumption
Good grief Chris, no we don't add up all power consumption of everything into the TCO because you can TURN IT OFF any, and I mean ANY time you like.
It's pointless to mention the power consumption when for it's class it is among the least power hungry. I suppose we'd all go back to using mechanical typewriters because it's less power consumption?
What uses more power is surfing the internet to inject comments about power consumption. Net power loss in pausing to consider it.
Without the standby electricity use (most printers are idle most of the time), this does not give the give the total cost of ownership. Samsung does not see fit to list power consumption on its web site, but it is in the user guide and is quoted as follows:
Average operating mode: Less than 300 W
Ready mode: Less than 70 W
Sleep mode: Less than 6W
Power off mode: 0W
If this is right (and a journalist should surely check?), it is on 24*7, and it powers down from Operating to Ready in a few seconds and from Ready to Sleep in a few minutes, then this printer will cost about £6 a year to run in the UK. This is typical for a modern low volume laser printer, and although much lower than typical printers of two or three years ago, it still adds significantly to the TCO.
Looks like the Samsung printer I bought ~4 years ago, except in black. That was a decent printer, and the Linux drivers were on CD and worked instantly with Slackware, which I consider to be unique, especially in 2005. Too bad the rubber on the paper intake roller deal decided to fall apart, so it could no longer suck in pages.
I replaced it with a Brother HL-5250DN, which was pricier, but prints faster, duplexes, has network support, and so far has lasted a lot longer than the Samsung. I guess it doesn't support PS like another commenter required, but I don't much mind messing with CUPS. Especially since I've long ago rolled my own package to install it.
Also ideal for...
making my own pcbs' and printing on acetate.
Yeah, should have mentioned. Works native in Ubuntu (~ debian) without any fussing. Compared to my last printer, I was amazed.