Setup is reasonably straightforward and it should have been even easier on the review sample, as the drum and toner cartridge came pre-installed. We tell you this not as journo trivia, but because when we tried to fire the machine up it reported no cartridge installed. The cartridge includes a long, articulated handle and has to be slid right to the back of the machine, inside, so is more fiddly than most.
Simplicity itself, but cartridge fitting can be a fiddle
We pulled it out and reinserted it a few times (cut the sniggering at the back) but with the same result. Finally, a call to Samsung revealed that you really do have to push the cartridge very firmly on the left-hand side to get it to locate and register as installed. Wonder how many support calls they get on this?
For such an inexpensive machine, Samsung makes an impressive speed claim. 16ppm for plain paper print is a fair turnover, but when we came to test it we were pleasantly surprised. Our five-page text print took 30 seconds, so a straight 10ppm, but when we increased the run to 20 pages, it completed in 1:24, a speed of 14.3ppm. This isn’t far off the spec and very comparable with other entry-level lasers, such as Canon’s £75 i-SENSYS LBP3100.
A single page text and graphics page, printed off five times, took 26 seconds, or 11.5ppm. Only one page had to be rasterised, so the increase in speed over the five-page, straight text page job is understandable. Finally, a 15 x 10cm photo printed in 12 seconds at the ML-1640’s default resolution of 600 x 1200dpi.
Output quality depends on what you’re printing. Straight text prints very cleanly, with no signs of toner spatter. It’s hard to tell from black text produced by mono lasers costing a lot more. When it comes to greyscale graphics, though, things aren’t quite so good.
More room is needed when open for printing
Although greys are quite smooth, with only slight visible banding, the range of shades is restricted. Some colours, which normally give discernibly different greyscale tones, produce very similar greys here and some are much darker than the original colour hues, so overlaid black text can get lost.
@ 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.