Review Price £297.28
Samsung CLX-3185FW - Performance and Verdict
The big disadvantage with a single-drum print engine is that colour pages have to be built up colour by colour in four rotations of the drum. This means colour prints take four times as long as black ones and it shows in the results here.
Our five-page text print took 37s, a speed of 8.1ppm and the draft print, which looks very similar to normal mode, was only marginally faster at 8.8ppm. On the longer, 20-page print, the speed rose to 13.8ppm, not far off the 16ppm quoted by Samsung as the black speed for the machine.
The five-page black text and colour graphics document didn't fare so well, taking 2mins 9secs, a speed of just 2.3ppm. There aren't many colour laser printers or multifunctions which use this four-pass technique any more, so colour print is pretty slow in comparison with rivals.
Colour photocopies are also slow, with a single page taking 44s, quite a bit longer than the 37s a five-page black copy took from the ADF. Colour prints from a PC (35s) and a USB drive (46s) are also sluggish.
The print quality is generally good, with crisp, black text giving bold, easy to read letters and reports and colours coming through dense, though a bit dark. Areas of colour fill with overprinted text can be hard to read, though they’re well registered. Photo prints exaggerate the primaries, as with many colour lasers. Colour copies degrade from the original, too, though this is more a function of the CIS scanner than the print engine.
Consumable prices vary quite a bit between suppliers and it took some time to track down what we believe are among the lowest. An ISO black page comes out at 3.8p and a colour one at 13.7p, both including 0.7p for paper. Both these are about average, certainly a lot lower than Dell’s 1355cnw.
This is a small and good-looking colour laser multifunction printer. It’s easy to setup – even for a wireless connection – quiet in use, produces fair print quality and sits in the middle of the field on running costs. However, it's slow when printing colour and has limited paper capacity. There are now plenty of colour multifunction machines, which take little longer to print a colour page than to print black text; this isn't one of them.