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If you want a simple but functional laser printer, there are several models under £100, but one of the main players in this market making respectable machines, is Samsung. Its ML-3050 is an entry-level printer, but has several features that you might expect only further up the price-bands.
This Samsung printer is styled in light and dark grey and has the company’s typical no-nonsense design. Almost cubic, though not as tall as it is wide or deep, it has a conventional paper path running from a 250-sheet paper tray at the bottom and ejecting sheets to a depression in its top surface. Above the paper tray is a pull down multi-purpose feeder, which can take a further 100 sheets. This is a good capacity for a comparatively inexpensive printer, where a single-sheet feed is more common. A second, optional, 250-sheet paper tray can be fitted under the printer.
On top, the ML-3050 has no status display and just three control buttons. The first is an orange Stop button and there's also an illuminated Toner Save button and one devoted to printing Demo pages, which is strangely extravagant. At the back, as well as the ubiquitous USB port, there's a standard parallel port as well, again unusual in a printer in this price bracket.
The printer is designed for simple installation and running. Pull down the front cover and you have access to a single slot, where the all-in-one photoconductor and toner cartridge slots in. This could hardly be simpler and should keep maintenance costs low.
Software includes a printer driver which provides poster, booklet and multiple page per slide printing – with up to 16 pages per sheet – control of manual duplexing and selection of print quality. The ML-3050 has a physical resolution of 600dpi, but this is enhanced through software up to 1,200dpi. It supports watermarks and overlay printing.
There's also a Web-based utility called Dr Printer, which can perform diagnostics on a sick printer, though we didn't have recourse to this during testing.
The ML-3050 is quite a nippy little machine, which produced our five-page text document in 23 seconds and mixed text and graphics pages, again five of them, in just 19 seconds. This gives it a true top speed of nearly 16ppm which, while a good way short of the quoted 28ppm, it still very respectable for a printer costing under £100. Even the photographic print only took 14 seconds, a graphics print speed of 4.3ppm.