In the printing, speed and efficiency is everything.With print costs of around 2p a page mark and speeds of ‘up to’ 34 pages per minute, the Samsung ML-3710 mono laser printer comes with high expectations. It meets them with room to spare.
Measuring 366x368x253mm, the grey (and rather drably designed) ML-3710ND is a relatively compact product that will just about suit a large desktop, but more likely a small office.
It’s mono, which will rule it out immediately for some, but everything else about the ML-3710ND is impressive – especially at this price.
The ML-3710ND isn’t wireless, but can be networked via Gigabit Ethernet (Type A USB input is also on its rear for direct connection to a PC).
Armed with a Samsung 600MHz processor and a 128MB memory, the ML-3710ND is slated to work with Windows (2000, XP, Vista and 7) as well as Mac OS and various Linux options. A CD in the box contains drivers and the handy AnyWeb browser-based software, though we performed an installation quickly and easily on a netbook without it, thanks to the excellent support pages on the Samsung website. Installing and setting up went without a hitch.
With duplex abilities for booklets and double-sided printing, the ML-3710ND is immediately marked out as relatively advanced, while its 300-sheet capacity (the lower half of the printer is nothing but an empty chamber for a 250-sheet cassette, while the usual foldout multi-purpose feeder takes 50 sheets) and 1200×1200 dpi should ensure low maintenance and high quality.
Duplex and eco modes
The ML-3710ND’s duplex skills are a touch more ‘manual’ than most in that the A4 paper in question goes all the way through the printer before being snatched back in at the last possible moment.
It’s a great feature to have, and arguably priceless in an office where creativity is crucial, or where presentation materials need to be produced, but what’s really impressive about the ML-3710ND’s duplex printing is the accompanying ‘eco’ mode.
This is activated by a dedicated button beside the LCD screen. When pressed, it remains the default until toggled off, automatically printing double-sided to squeeze two pages to a single sheet – and it also uses less toner into the bargain.
We tested the ML-3710ND’s eco mode extensively, and the printer didn’t slip up or jam once (or, indeed, during any duplex tasks).
So does this eco obsession come at the cost of performance? Well, yes, sometimes it does – the ML-3710ND has another eco-driven aspect of its everyday behaviour, in that it’s constantly falling asleep on the job.
Less than a minute after printing a document, it nods off with an audible click. Great for the planet, but not necessarily for a productive office since it takes a good 15 seconds or so to wake up – and rather noisly, at that.
Loudness is one of the drawbacks of the ML-3710ND; Samsung rates it at a high 52 decibels, and it’s hard to disagree with that figure. The duplex causes a lot of racket – though so does the single paper feeder on the ML-3710ND’s side.
Speed and performance
Send a document to print and it takes 24 seconds to rasterize and send before printing begins almost immediately. In our tests, it then took a further 18 seconds to finish a five-page document (the last page takes by far the longest).
That initial delay over (which will obviously increase by a few seconds, the bigger the document you’re printing), we counted 28 seconds for a 10-pager and 44 seconds for a 20-pager – so it speeds up hugely the more it’s asked to do.
Still, Samsung’s figure of 35 pages per minute is a trifle misleading – it’s actually nearer 15. In another test, the ML-3710ND took 31 secs to rasterise and a further 17 seconds to print an eight-page booklet (four pages of A4 printed both sides and folded to form a booklet).
Judged on speed, the ML-3710ND does well – and so to quality. Sharp, reasonably nuanced and offering plenty of clarity in text (less so in photos and images), the output at the printer’s highest quality setting is excellent.
Eco mode, too, spits out reasonable pages that are bold enough to read easily while maintaining decent enough image quality – certainly enough for proofing pages or judging basic layouts.
Where the ML-3710ND really excels is in the page yield from its toner cartridges – the most important aspect of its eco-friendly claims.
Three toner cartridges are available for this printer; the MLT-D205E/ELS Extra High Yield Toner (up to 10,000 pages, around £114 inc. VAT), the MLT-D205L High Yield Toner (5,000 pages, £77 inc. VAT) and the MLT-D205S Standard Yield Toner (2,000 pages, £53 inc. VAT).
If we take the average cost of a sheet of A4 paper as 0.9p, the ML-3710ND manages a total of 2.3p per print in cluding paper , if you’re using the highest yield (and best value) MLT-D205L cartridge.
Contact: Samsung on 0845 67267864
- Easy set up, duplex printing, good value.
- Noise, slow wake-up time, black-and-white only.
Cheap to run and capable of duplex printing, this versatile mono laser printer's eco-friendly features push money-saving even further.
With a cheap per-page rate and an easy set-up, the ML-3710ND appears remarkably good value option for a small or home office.