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Samsung trumpets its CLX-2160N colour, laser-based, all-in-one machine as the world's smallest colour laser MFP. We certainly haven't seen anything to challenge that, as the complete machine is smaller than several colour laser printers we’ve looked at this year. The price is also good, coming in at just under £300, where most colour laser MFPs are nearer £500.
Styled like a typical office photocopier, but not much larger than the A4 paper it uses, the CLX-2160N is a very neatly designed piece of equipment. Its front edge is rounded off and then sliced through to form a flat control panel, which incorporates a two-line, 16-character LCD display and a series of 11 buttons, including large ones to start and stop print jobs.
There are three extra buttons in this set, not normally seen on an all-in-one. Two of them work with the USB socket in the front panel to scan to a file on a memory drive and to print a file from one. The third button, called ID Copy, takes an identity tag, business card or other small document and asks you to place it first one way up and then the other, before printing both images on a single sheet of paper.
The scanner itself appears to use a contact sensor, which makes the scanner nice and shallow, but doesn't provide the scanning quality of a CCD sensor. It has a resolution of 1,200ppi, which the print engine can only match through software enhancement – its native resolution is 600dpi. At the back are sockets for USB 2.0 and Ethernet, both of which are provided as standard.
A low-capacity, 150-sheet paper tray slots in at the front of the machine and protrudes from its front by about 10cm. This has a single-sheet multi-purpose feed built into the tray top. Paper ejects from the printer section of the all-in-one and finished pages stick out by about the same amount as the input tray, which is handy when picking up a finished print job.
The machine uses the same print engine as Samsung's CLP-300, reviewed back in November last year, which has probably the easiest consumables access of any colour laser. You pull down the front panel and facing you are four cylindrical holes, into which you slide the four toner cartridges, each about the size of a small tube of Pringles. Apart from the imaging unit, which only needs replacing every 20,000 pages, these cartridges and a waste bottle are the only consumables.
Samsung provides its strangely named SmarThru control panel for handling scanning and printing from a PC, as well as ReadIris Pro 10 OCR software, so you can scan in text documents. Other than that, the driver is reasonably well-endowed and includes instructions for manual duplexing, which from our tests the device handles well.