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9/10

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A Samsung representative described the ML-1630W as based on the design of a Steinway piano. That's a new model of Steinway piano about the size of a vinyl record deck, cased in black plastic and containing a mono laser printer engine rather than all those outmoded strings and hammers, then... but it's true they're both glossy and black.

This is from the latest round of Samsung designer printers, for those who want to bring their peripherals out of the office under the stairs and onto the drawing room workstation or high street office desk. Looks are a big part of the appeal of the machine and it's certainly a stylish design.

Its gloss black case has a distinct step at the front, down to the 'keyboard', which is actually where the paper comes out. This is a very low-profile machine, but has a rather bigger footprint than at first appears. Unless you want your documents to end up on the desk or floor, you need to attach a clear plastic paper support to the front of the printer, which alters its looks enough to be excluded from any of the publicity shots.

Controls are reduced to power and job-cancel buttons, which are touch buttons on the ML-1630W's top surface. The status display is a matrix of 13 x 5 blue LEDs, supplemented by four, purpose-designed icons for error, paper, toner and paper jam. As well as displaying large, animated symbols and arrows, the blue LEDs show simple messages, such as ‘OPEN' when the top cover is opened. The printer also emits a series of ringtone-style beeps when issues are resolved or print jobs finish.

A push button on the front face of the printer releases a spring-loaded paper tray. Samsung refers to this as a 100-sheet tray, but this is only for 75gsm paper, lighter than normal multipurpose office stationery. We reckon 90 sheets is a more realistic figure. Either way, it's a low capacity for a mono laser, unless your needs are very modest.

At the back are sockets for USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi - it's unusual to find these three as standard on a printer costing around £100. Wireless connection is easy to achieve, as the setup routine provides for both local and network connections.

Physical setup is also straightforward. Lift the top half of the printer up and the combined drum and toner cartridge slots into the bottom section of the printer from above. This is simpler than having to locate a cartridge from the front and slide it into place.

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