Samsung – SCX-5530FN review

office laser printer, scanner, document manager and more
Photo of Samsung – SCX-5530FN
£485 + VAT

For a printer the Samsung SCX-5530FN is big, but then it’s not just a printer. No, it’s a network scanner. No, it’s a photocopier, a fax machine, a plane. Well, maybe not the last one, but certainly a multifunction device with a lot more going for it than you might at first expect.

At the core of the SCX-5530FN you’ll find a fast (28ppm) monochrome laser, complete with duplexer for double-sided printing. This uses a combined toner/drum cartridge which simply pops into a drawer at the front, with a 4,000-page cartridge included in the box. Replacements will set you back around £70-80 + VAT, plus we also found larger 8,000-page cartridges available at around £128 + VAT.

A 250-sheet A4 tray sits underneath the printer with a fold-out, multi-purpose feeder at the front for transparencies, card and other materials. You can also add a second 250-sheet drawer should you need it, and with a duty cycle of 25,000 pages/month plus an integrated network print server, it’s a good choice for small companies or for print sharing on a departmental LAN.

Other features include easily upgraded memory and both PCL6 and PostScript Level 3 emulations with drivers for Windows, Mac and Linux all included. And it’s quick, the first page of each document appearing in about ten seconds and print quality, at an effective 1,200dpi, well up to the standard required for general office printing.

However, as we’ve already pointed out, it’s a lot more than just a printer.

The biggest give-away is the scanner, complete with 50-sheet automatic document feeder, on the top. This immediately turns the Samsung into a compact walk-up copier, but that’s not all. Although the built-in laser can only produce monochrome copies the scanner itself is a full colour device. It can also convert scans to TIFF, PDF and other formats on the fly, then automatically copy them to remote Windows or FTP file shares, even sending them to individuals or groups via e-mail if you want.

Plus there’s a built-in fax modem, turning the SCX-5530FN into a fax machine. And, lastly, you can also plug USB memory sticks in at the front and either print out what they contain or scan documents onto them, doing away with the need to find a desktop PC.

On the downside it can take a while to learn how to use each of these options. Moreover, although fine when it comes to printing and sending faxes, the integrated display and keypad don’t make for the easiest of interfaces when it comes to typing and selecting network shares or e-mail addresses.

Fortunately it’s possible to configure address books and other user settings in advance via the Web-based management interface. That done, users need only type in their PIN code to scan to the My Documents folder on their own PC or select from a list to e-mail scanned documents.

And these options really can be useful. In a small business, for example, incoming orders can be scanned in and copies automatically sent to accounts and dispatch departments for processing. You even get optional OCR software to turn them into editable documents.

Visitors can print documents from USB sticks without having to connect to the LAN, and you can do away with multiple desktop scanners, users simply scanning documents straight to their own desktops.

Another plus is that, despite its size, the Samsung unit has a compact footprint and is very light, making it easy to position just where it’s needed. It’s also very affordable. More expensive than a comparable network laser, perhaps, but then it is also a copier. No, it’s fax. No, it’s a scanner, a speeding bullet, a plane… oh well, you’ve got the idea by now.

Company: Samsung

Contact: 0870 726 7864


Verdict
As a 28ppm laser with built-in duplexer and Ethernet print server, the Samsung SCX-5530FN is a good network printer. However, it's also got a colour scanner, document feeder and integrated modem, making it a copier and fax machine too. Plus it can scan direct to network shares, e-mail and USB stick. It's a lot for the money and a lot more than just the sum of its parts.