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Samsung rates the CLP-315 at 17ppm for black print and 4ppm for colour. The colour speed is less than a quarter of the black, because the drum has to make four rotations to build up a colour image, one of the penalties of the compact design. In fact, under test, the printer took 33 seconds to complete our five-page black text print, with an extra 22 seconds for warm up, if it was waking from sleep mode.
Even without the wake-up time, this equates to 9.1ppm, not even close to the rated speed. Increasing the print run to 20 pages saw the printer complete it in 1:31, giving a speed of 13.2ppm. Since, according to Infotrends, the average business document is just four pages, the headline speed of this machine – and many rivals from other suppliers – looks over-optimistic.
Running a five-page text and colour graphics job gave a print speed of 3.4ppm, a lot closer to the 4.0ppm quoted by Samsung. Our 15 x 10cm photo print took 31 seconds.
Print quality from the CLP-315 is good, with thick, dark characters and bold, bright colours. They’re sometimes a bit too bright, though, and text overlaid on colour shows toner spatter and poor registration, giving a slightly blotchy appearance. The photo print suffers from its colours being over-emphasised and some slight banding is visible, too.
Samsung claims very low noise levels for the printer, due to its No Nois (yes, you did read that correctly) technology. It's certainly quiet for a laser printer, but part of this is due to its slow running speed. The faster the printer, generally, the more noise it makes.
The online purchase price for the CLP-315 is very low for a colour laser printer, so you might expect there would be some claw-back of costs in the consumables. You’d be right.
Colour toner cartridges contain only enough toner for 1,000 ISO pages (1,500 pages for the black) and the imaging drum needs replacing every 24,000 pages, the cost of a colour page comes out at 11.82p, the highest page cost we’ve seen from a colour laser in at least a year. The black page cost, at 3.27p, is also on the high side.
Samsung’s CLP-315 has good and bad points. On the good side, it’s accurately described as the world’s smallest colour laser printer, is easy to maintain, quiet when printing and has a very attractive purchase price. Against this, it’s slow, particularly printing colour, and at over 10p per colour page, comparatively expensive to run. The choice is yours and in the end it may well come down to how much space and money you have available.