Laser printers have plummeted in price over recent years, and if you’re willing to sacrifice colour printing and a few other extras, it’s possible to pick up models for under £100.
At £99, Samsung’s ML-1915 certainly sits in the budget camp. The design is simple yet attractive, and the all-black chassis makes it stand out from the deluge of beige laser printers. Things are kept uncomplicated on the printer itself, with just three buttons and a couple of LED indicators.
Two of the buttons are for power and cancel functions, but the third is slightly more unusual. Called the Printscreen button, it lets you quickly print out a grab of your desktop. A quick press prints the entire desktop, while holding the button down for a couple of seconds prints only the active window. It’s an interesting feature, but the ability to activate it via a keyboard shortcut is sadly lacking.
For a budget printer, the ML-1915 has a decent-sized input tray that can cope with up to 250 A4 pages. Unlike with many other compact lasers, this tray slides into the chassis and sits flush with the front. Just above the input tray is a single-sheet input, while completed print jobs arrive neatly on the top of the printer.
Head round to the back of the printer and the chassis bulges out at the bottom so as to accommodate the length of the input tray. USB and power cables also attach here; those looking to network the ML-1915 will be disappointed to hear there’s no Ethernet or WiFi included, nor can you add them later on.
Samsung shouts about the ML-1915 being a fast printer, and after running it through a series of tests we’re inclined to agree. Once the first page has hit the deck, subsequent prints are spat out at a rate of 18 pages per minute. What’s more, it doesn’t take long for the first page to arrive, at just a little over nine seconds.
As with any laser printer, the cost per print is of utmost importance. Given its budget nature, we weren’t at all surprised to find Samsung has used the old trick of shipping it with a special ‘starter’ toner cartridge. With only enough toner to last 700 pages, it won’t be long before you have to splash out on a replacement cartridge.
Both standard and high-yield replacement cartridges are available. Online prices vary, but we found the starter available for £45, while the high-yield was £56. And with these lasting 1,500 (3p per page) and 2,500 pages (2.2p per page) respectively, the ML-1915′s running costs are impressively low.
Equally impressive is the quality of the prints. We took a magnifying glass to some of our resolution tests and found the clarity to be excellent, which is a pleasant surprise considering how much the printer costs. Image quality isn’t great, though, and it struggles with areas of gradual shading. But for printing graphs and basic pictures, it’s perfectly adequate.
It’s also worth mentioning that Samsung has done a sterling job with driver support, and the ML-1915 will work with Windows, Mac and a variety of Linux distributions.
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