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Samsung SCX-3205W review

Simon Handby
1 Jan 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
121
inc VAT

A good-looking and affordable MFP that's let down only by slightly high running costs

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Recently, we've been impressed by many of Samsung's compact laser printers. One of our favourites, the SCX-4600, is coming to the end of its life. The SCX-3205 is its replacement - with this 3205W model being the more expensive version with built-in wireless.

Samsung SCX-3205W

It’s a brilliantly-packaged device, which manages to squeeze a mono laser printer and a scanner into a slightly smaller footprint than even most inkjet MFPs. Many cheaper printers look run-of-the-mill, but the SCX-3205W is made from smart black plastic, livened up with glossy inserts around the output tray and the control panel. The latter is a simple affair without a colour screen; there's just a two-digit numeric LED display for copy quantities, and a selection of buttons.

Samsung SCX-3205W buttons

As there’s no display you'll need to connect the MFP to your PC before you can get it onto a wireless network, unless your router supports WiFi Protected Setup (WPS). Samsung's installer makes the process straightforward. The printer uses a single consumable, combining toner with an imaging drum. Replacements cost £43 and last for 1,500 pages, but the supplied starter item is only good for around 700 pages.

The SCX-3205W may look great when not in use, but it's not quite as slick when loaded with paper. This goes into a 150-sheet capacity tray that projects from the front. This increases the footprint, and as the tray doesn't have sides or a lid the paper stack could collect dust if the printer isn't used often. The output tray supports the middle of the page but not the edges, allowing printed material to curl a little. The flip-up stop helps keep pages tidy, though.

There's not much else to criticise. The SCX-3205W prints only at a modest 16 pages per minute (PPM) so is quieter and clunks less than faster units – making the noise bearable if you have to share a desk with the printer. The scanner lid hinges feel a little loose, but they extend up by a centimetre or so to allow the lid to close flat on thick originals. Both the print and scan interfaces are well laid out, presenting casual users with simple information with advanced settings just a click or two away.

We expect good text from laser printers, and the SCX-3205W produced exceptionally crisp and black characters with no jaggedness. Printed photographs and presentations were far above average, with good control over shading. Though quick, at 9 seconds for an A4 page, photocopies were overly dark, and there's no button on the printer to lighten them – you have to change the setting in the printer driver. That's a surprising blot, because the scanner is a good match for the printer, capturing sharp images with accurate shading detail and colours across a variety of test material.

While we like the SCX-3205W’s looks, ease of use and print and scan quality, its running costs are slightly higher than we’d like at this price. It’s a great choice for the home or small businesses, but printing in high volumes would soon become expensive.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Maximum native print resolution600x600dpi
Max optical resolution1,200dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A416ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.127s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.037s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB Hi-Speed, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size234x388x299mm
Weight7.4kg
Noise (in normal use)49dB(A)
Duty cycle5,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity150
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity150
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

General

Printer technologymono laser
Language(s)SPL (Samsung Printer Language), PCL5e
Supported operating systemsWindows 2000/XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.3 or later, various Linux
Maximum printer memory128MB
Other laser features and optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£121
Consumable parts and prices£43
Price of 2nd paper cassetteN/A
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.oyyy.co.uk
Detailswww.samsung.com/uk

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview13s
A4 document at 150dpi14s
A4 document at 300dpi14s
6x4in photo at 600dpi19s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi57s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.010s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99
Max mono copy resolution600dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolutionN/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)N/A