How small and simple can a laser printer be? Samsung's ML-1640 must be pretty close to the limits on both counts. Designed as a personal printer for home or home office use, it's about is straightforward as a printer can get.
The frosted and gloss black box is about the size of a half-loaf breadmaker and when closed, it takes up very little room on the desktop. To print you need to unfold the output paper support from its top surface and fold down the front flap, which becomes the paper feed tray. This can take up to 150 sheets of 75g/sm paper.
If you want to leave the printer ready to print, you have to leave the tray open, without a paper cover to protect it from dust. Most entry-level printers include, at least, a detachable cover, while the £75 Canon i-SENSYS LBP-3100 has one built-in.
Controls and indicators on the printer's top surface comprise a light for power and data, a second for low toner and a single button to cancel a print job. At the back of the left side panel is a single USB socket and at the back of the right-hand side is a standard kettle-lead, power connection - we did say this printer was simple!
Samsung provides a combined drum and toner cartridge with the ML-1640 and this includes a long, articulated handle, with which you manipulate the cartridge to the back of the printer, inside the case. This is a bit fiddly and it's important to press it firmly in on the left-hand side, or the machine reports a lack of cartridge. We were caught by this, as the cartridge was supplied in situ and had shifted during transit, so was not properly located when we came to test it.
A standard cartridge for the machine has toner for 1,500 pages but, like many other suppliers, Samsung provides a starter cartridge in the box - this one runs for just 700 pages. Providing starter cartridges is more excusable in inexpensive machines such as this, but Samsung should make the toner capacity plainer on the box.
Software bundled with the printer comprises the Dr. Printer diagnostic and a driver which supports watermarks, overlays, up to 16 pages per sheet and instructions for manual duplexing. It's very clear and easy to use.