Paper feed was generally accurate, though on a couple of occasions a page feeding from the machine pushed the top sheet sitting in the output tray, leaving an untidy stack. There's no paper-stop to flip up, to prevent this happening, though we didn't have any pages landing on the desk.
Not the quietest, but a sound choice
Although it's small, this isn't a particularly quiet printer and we measured peak noise levels of 63dBA at half a metre, mainly when feeding paper. Paper pickup is always the noisiest part of the print cycle, in both laser and inkjet machines, and this is as noisy as some heavyweight, workgroup printers.
There’s only one consumable in the ML-1640, a drum and toner cartridge rated at 1,500 pages. Running costs depend entirely on the price you can find this for and the cheapest we could turn up was just under £38. This gives a cost per page of 2.35p, which is about average for an entry-level mono laser, and even for those costing up to £100, so you’re not paying a premium to compensate for the low asking price of the machine itself.
The pricing of printers and their consumables is a delicate game for manufacturers to play. If they bring the asking price of the printer itself right down, they need to make up income by increasing the price of the consumables. If the consumables cost becomes too high a proportion of the complete machine’s, however, they risk customers buying a second printer, rather than a cartridge, when it runs out. This doesn't help balance their books.
With a consumable price of £38 and a printer price typically around £50, Samsung is getting pretty close, but gets around it – as so many other printer makers do – by shipping the ML-1640 with a ‘starter’ cartridge, good for just 700 pages. This has the double advantage that it makes a second printer less attractive than a full-yield cartridge and that it forces the customer to start buying cartridges sooner in the life-cycle of the printer.
While a cover for the paper tray would be a bonus, this is, nonetheless, a well designed, entry-level mono laser printer which, although simple, does everything you could ask for under £50. It’s quick, does well on printing text and reasonably well on graphics and costs no more than its competitors to run. ®
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@ 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.