Samsung, though a latecomer to the business printing party, has established itself as a valued guest. Its combination of well-made, in-house designed laser printers, both monochrome and colour, also attract good discounts, making them some of the most affordable products in their classes. The CLP-550 is a mid-ranged, non-networked colour laser, designed for the small office or workgroup.
The popular image of a colour laser printer is a big, heavy square box with lots of different parts inside, each of which has to be maintained separately to get colour prints out. The CLP-550 doesn’t go far to dispel this view. It’s almost cubic bulk is a definite two-man lift and most of its surfaces are covers, which swing out to reveal parts of the mechanism inside.
You position the printer sideways on your desk, as the control panel lies along its long edge and the 250 sheet paper tray slides out from the base of its long face. An additional, 100-sheet multi-purpose tray folds out from the right-hand side of the machine, for media such as envelopes or transparency sheets.
The controls comprise a group of five buttons to control the printer’s menu system, with a cancel button and power light on the other side of a two line, 16-character mono LCD display. The menu system is pretty easy to navigate, though the display would benefit from a back-light.
There’s also a status map, with five pin-head LEDs indicating different parts of the printer where a page might jam or consumables might run out. Nothing went wrong while testing, so none of these LEDs lit up, though we did see a couple of multiple-sheet feeds.
On the left-hand side are USB 2.0 and parallel sockets, while Ethernet and wireless networking connections are available as options.
There are two interlocking covers on the printer; you must open the front door fully first, before the top cover can be lifted. Inside you have an imaging unit, the most prominent feature of which is a large photostatic drum, a transfer belt and four toner cartridges. The imaging drum drops in first, right into the bowels of the printer, with the transfer belt on top and the four wide, flat cartridges sliding in, one above the other, from the front.
It’s quite a complex procedure to install everything, and if you’ve never slotted consumables into a laser before, you may have to fiddle around, as the user guide diagrams are small and not that clear.