Samsung ML-1915 review
The benefits of mono laser printers are slim, thanks to affordable colour lasers and business inkjets, but this is the best example available.
Review Date: 17 Nov 2009
Price when reviewed: inc VAT
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
If fast print speeds and low running costs are more important than colour, a mono laser printer is worth considering. Samsung's ML-1915 also includes simple operation in its list of strengths.
Installation was unusually quick, and the print driver settings are refreshingly sparse, though given there are no networking facilities, duplex printing options or multiple paper trays, this isn't surprising. A 250-sheet paper cassette slots into the base and keeps the paper dust-free. The integrated power adaptor avoids the clutter of an external adaptor, and the boxy design is smart and compact.
The only features are the manual sheet feed slot and a print screen button. The former is useful for printing on envelopes, card and coloured paper. The latter takes a screenshot of the desktop and produces a paper copy. This neat trick is ideal for printing out an address or a map from a website.
A printer this straightforward must be judged purely on its print quality, speed and costs. We measured 16.7ppm in our speed tests, which isn't far off the 18ppm quoted speed and barely distinguishable from its Canon and Brother competitors. Its maximum monthly duty cycle of 10,000 pages is up to most small-to-medium office workloads, too.
Quality was in keeping with its peers, too, with crisp text on photocopier paper and little evidence of banding or dithering in greyscales. The printer has an effective resolution of 1,200x600dpi thanks to driver-based resolution enhancement. Switching from Normal to Best quality produced even smoother lines on curved parts of text, but it also made greys a little too dark. Choosing Best quality and switching the Darkness setting to Light gave the best-quality graphics and barely made any impact on print speeds. Selecting these options from the System Tray utility made them the defaults for all print jobs.
The ML-1915 pulls away from its competitors when it comes to running costs. It costs 2.05p per page, compared to 2.4p from Canon's similar LBP3100 and 2.3p from Brother's HL-2035. With everything else being pretty much equal, it's easy to conclude that the ML-1915 is the model to buy.
However, these printers must also compete with colour lasers, such as Samsung's own CLP-315, and business inkjets such as HP's Officejet 6000. The 6000 prints pages slower, but because it doesn't need to warm up before printing, a single page will usually be faster. Unusually for an inkjet, it's also significantly cheaper to run. Both the Officejet 6000 and the CLP-315 also offer colour output. For those who are adamant that they'll never need colour prints, the ML-1915 is an excellent choice. However, we doubt that many people fall into this category.
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