Samsung CLP-300 review
Inkjets might be the dominant printer for home offices, but there are some situations where they won’t do. They can be expensive to run, slow and plain text still can’t match the crisp output of a good laser. With a price of just £139 – less than many mono lasers – the all-colour CLP-300 seeks to uproot the business inkjet once and for all.
Bringing a colour laser printer to the market at this price is a difficult task, and there are some inevitable compromises. The print engine is technically single-pass, in that the paper only goes over the image drum once, but the drum has to be “painted” by each colour, which means a colour document still takes significantly longer to finish than a mono one. A 50-page mono document printed at a rate of 16ppm, while a 50-page colour document printed at just 4ppm. A full-colour 20-page PDF emerged at 5ppm. These times aren’t bad – they’re still faster than you’ll get from an inkjet in normal quality mode.
The printer is almost totally frill-free. You can only connect via USB, and there are just five lights on the front – one for power/status and four to alert you to low toner. Most importantly, print quality is generally good. Black text on a white background was excellent, and images, although slightly prone to banding, showed little noticeable dithering. The only consistent quality problem we had was with black text on a grey background, where there was a noticeable “shadow” to the text. There was also some colour bleed when printing white text on a coloured background: this isn’t disastrous, but for important business documents it would be worth considering which colours and layout styles you plan to use.
Each toner cartridge lasts for 1,000 pages, with the exception of the 2,000-sheet mono cartridge, so this printer isn’t for heavy-duty use. But its running costs are still reasonable: each full-colour page will cost 8.7p, including the cost of replacing the image drum every 20,000 pages, while mono-only pages work out at 1.8p. There are lasers that cost less per page, such as Samsung’s own CLP-510, but their initial cost is higher.
If you’re a single user and you want the simplicity, speed and quality of a mono laser with the option to print colour, the CLP-300 is a very attractive offering at this price.