Sub-£100 laser printers are nothing new, but for that money you’d expect a fairly basic personal laser. Samsung’s ML-3050 certainly covers the basics, but also offers one or two extras you might not expect.
At first sight the ML-3050 is nothing special: a squashed cube in two tones of grey with a 250-sheet paper tray sliding out from the bottom and a multi-purpose tray folding down from the front panel. This isn’t a single-sheet tray, though, and can take up to 100 sheets of special media, such as letterheads or envelopes. Pages end up in an output tray set into the top of the machine.
Also at the top is the control panel, though there’s no LCD display here, just three buttons: one stops a print job, the second switches on toner saving and the last, a bit of a sales indulgence, prints a demo page. At the back are both USB 2 and parallel ports, again unusual in an entry-level printer but useful if all your USB ports are in use.
Physical and software setup is very simple. Pull down the front cover and the single-piece drum and toner cartridge slides in. Load the software driver and you have full control over the printer’s functions. These include support of banner and multi-page printing, and printing watermarks and overprints too.
The ML-3050 is a quick machine for the money and we saw 16ppm for text and just over 4ppm for photographic prints. While neither of these speeds comes close to Samsung’s rating of 28ppm, real-world measurements rarely do. The text print speed in particular is very reasonable for a printer in this price range.
The printer has a resolution of 1,200dpi, but this is an enhanced figure and the native resolution is half this. Even so, it gave better reproduction of our test photo at 600dpi than with the 1,200dpi enhancement turned on. In both modes it did well for a mono laser and text print was particularly crisp and precise.
Printing costs aren’t bad, with the higher capacity 8,000-page cartridge producing a page cost of 1.7p. The 4,000-page cartridge produces costs a bit higher than this. Unfortunately for Samsung, though, the higher capacity cartridge costs around £95, even at Internet prices, marginally more than the printer itself. It’s never a good idea to have the price of a printer lower than that of its main consumable.
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