Samsung has been making TVs and smartphones for years – and in its Korean heartland, the company even makes cars – but the speed at which the company has swarmed the printer market in recent times has been breathtaking. There’s now a Samsung printer to match almost every conceivable niche. Its latest is aimed at the SoHo small business and home office market, but at heart the ML-1865 is a budget laser printer through-and-through.
Attractive low-cost option
The Samsung’s low-cost positioning is obvious from the off: the ML-1865 only deals in black and white, with no colour options available. That pretty much rules out creative uses such as photography and design – but for the rest of us, the diminutive ML-1865 is a seriously attractive budget option at a mere £68.
The printer itself is fairly attractive, with a glossy black top, surround by a matt black shell that houses a 150-sheet (impressively large, at this price) tray complete with pullout stopper. There’s no allowance for different-sized printer paper – just A4 – though on a black and white printer that’s understandable. Tested with A4 paper of varying thickness and condition, the ML-1865 didn’t jam or consume any overlapping paper. If it finds unsuitable matter in its input tray, the Samsung stops and a red LED light flashes.
Given this printer’s rock bottom price, it’s no surprise that the toner cartridge it ships with has a capacity of just 700 pages; a regular version yields around 1,500 pages and costs £50 – giving a cost of just over 3p per page, which hovers around the industry standard.
One key feature of the ML-1865 is it size. With a footprint not much bigger than that of a netbook – exact measurements are 341x224x184mm (wdh) – this is as portable a laser printer as you’ll find.
It’s also lightweight, at just over 4kg – so portability isn’t in doubt, though its placement is limited to the stretch of a USB cable; there’s no WiFi on board.
If wireless connection is a must, the wireless-capable Samsung ML-1865W is otherwise identical, save for a price tag that nudges £100. Lone workers who are happy with the wired version should find the ML-1865 perfectly suited to their needs in all the key areas.
As with most wired printers these days, setup is simple: hook it up via USB2 to a PC or Mac, install the printer drivers from the CD (Linux versions can be downloaded from Samsung’s website). Samsung’s Any Web print software is included on the CD, though this scrapbook’-style software for printing whatever you drag-and-drop is strictly for PC users only.
Of more universal appeal is the ML-1865W’s print screen’ mode, which simply prints whatever you’ve got on your computer screen. That button pretty much makes up the entire control panel on the left-hand side of the ML-1865W’s top. It’s accompanied solely by the power switch. In our tests, the printer spewed out a single A4 page in landscape orientation to represent a widescreen monitor. Now that really is idiot-proof printing.
The ML-1865 is also seriously quick. Particularly impressive is the speed at which it wakes up, though in a session printing multiple documents in one burst, this unit was only ever be a few seconds behind. Tested with both a PC and a Mac, we found Samsung’s claims – a first page output time 8.5 seconds and 18 A4 pages-per-minute – to be virtually spot-on (we measured 9 seconds and 17 pages, respectively).
Text is exceptionally clear and graphics thoroughly sufficient, though don’t expect to produce moody, arty black-and-white photos; despite the printer’s 1,200dpi resolution, photographs suffer from an over-riding softness, visible dots and some banding and mottling in areas of black.
Of Samsung’s dual claims of whisper quiet’ and less than 50 decibels’, only one is correct – though we wouldn’t say this is a noisy printer. It makes noise in short bursts, and has none of the random preparation and resetting hardware noises associated with inkjet printers. However, the ML-1865 does get very hot if put through a bout of printing, though the only drawback is the heady smell of hot toner.
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A frankly superb performance, both in terms of speed and text print quality makes this a top choice for lone workers. At this price, it's a toss-up between a quick-fire laser printer by your side, and a noisy WiFi inkjet model on the other side of the room. Samsung's ML-1865 is compelling argument in favour of keeping things close at hand.