Colour laser printers start at around £150, but climb rapidly in price as you move from the SOHO to the workgroup markets. You pay for extra speed, flexibility in paper handling and the robustness to handle higher workloads. When you get to £500 to £600 area, Samsung's CLP-770ND is on the menu, discounted from a fairly silly list price of £1,449.
This is a monolithic machine, with a big, square-cut case, chamfered off at the front to create space for a control panel and with a slightly strange arrangement of main 500-sheet paper tray and fold-down, 100-sheet multipurpose tray. As you fold down the multipurpose tray, it opens a slot in the front of the machine for the paper to feed through.
You can fit a couple of extra, 500-sheet paper trays as options, so the total feed capacity is 1,600 sheets, which should keep even a busy office going for a fair while. Paper feeds out to an indentation in the top cover of the machine but, even with its substantial dimensions, you still have to raise a support flap to stop pages falling off the back.
The control panel is simple, but effective, with a 4-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display showing all status messages. The display is fully bitmapped, so can show graphics as well as text. Two buttons set beside the display select menu options and back up the menu tree, and there's a four-way ring of navigation buttons, with a large OK button in the centre. To the right are Cancel and Power buttons.
At the rear of the right-hand side of the machine are sockets for USB and Ethernet, which is not as neat a location as putting them on the back panel.
Physical set up involves inserting the four drum and toner cartridges, one for each colour. The transfer belt engages in the front cover of the printer and the fuser is reached through a smaller cover on the top.
Support software is fairly standard, with monitoring and supplies applets, as well as drivers. Both Postscript Level 3 and PCL 6 are supported in emulation and the machine can be driven from Windows, OS X and various Linux distributions.