Samsung ML-1520 review

Price when reviewed

The ML-1520 is Samsung’s latest foray into the entry-level, mono laser printer arena. In essence, it’s an updated version of the ML-1510 and features a 250-sheet capacity tray, up to 600dpi and a larger memory (now 8MB). It also benefits from a relatively small footprint of 352 x 372 x 196mm, but it’s only when you notice the sneaky chunk that sticks out of the back that you realise it’s not quite as ultra compact as you first thought.

Samsung ML-1520 review

Setting the unit up is simple, with the toner sliding in easily and the driver intuitive. The paper tray slides neatly into the base of the unit, with a secondary paper insertion point on the front. The latter can only be fed one sheet at a time though – a small but potentially significant point for some users.

The only caveat to the speed this printer is capable of is the 30-second recalibration breather it takes after every 32nd page, which can occasionally be frustrating. Nonetheless, the ML-1520 printed our 50-page plain-text document in 3 minutes, 55 seconds – 16 of which were taken up with processing, and perfectly matching the claimed 14ppm. The 50-page colour letter also failed to flummox the ML-1520, taking 4 minutes, 5 seconds – 26 of which were processing time, leaving the rate of 14ppm unchanged.

Our often-troublesome 12-page Excel test was completed in one minute, with the processing taking exactly a quarter of that time, equating to 16ppm. The quality remained sharp as with the earlier bulk 50-page tests, including the greyscale interpretation of colour graphs and smaller font sizes, even in bold. The close contrast on tables was clear and well defined, as was the unprinted white text. In addition, the solid areas of print had no banding.

Our DTP challenge also presented no problems for this printer, with minimal banding on only the occasional image over a 24-page document, and narrow, sans-serif fonts in small point size remaining clear and completely unbroken. Printing took 1 minute, 53 seconds with processing taking 18 seconds, giving a respectable end result of 13ppm. The 5MB, four-page PDF document, of which we print five copies, also proved almost faultless, again with minimal pixelation and only occasional banding on images. The repeated reproduction of six-point font was excellent with both black on white and the reverse. Processing took only 15 seconds and printing took 1 minute, 21 seconds, averaging 15ppm.

Our 600dpi high-resolution photo montage was generated in a reasonable 24 seconds and showed only slight banding with no real graininess. The images were sharp and greyscale shading was consistent with drop shadows fading smoothly.

Serif text at four-point font size was still notably legible in our final mono quality test, with slight banding on the odd image spoiling an otherwise impressive result – even sizeable blocks of black were smooth with no degradation at all.

It might not be as robust as some of the other budget printers, but we’ve no complaints at this price. For the individual, the ML-1520 presents some serious competition to the A-Listed Kyocera FS-1020D – it may cost 1.6p per page as opposed to the Kyocera’s 0.68p, but it’s also half the price.

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