The headline 33ppm print speed is a bit optimistic, but this is a quick printer and even our 5-page text print produced a speed of 15ppm, by completing in just 20 seconds. The 20-page document increased the speed to 25.5ppm, so you're not likely to be waiting long once the printer has sprung into life.
Since the ML-3471ND is likely to be in energy-saving sleep mode when a job reaches it, the speed at which it wakes up is a relevant factor. Here it takes around 12 seconds before printing starts, so it may appear slower if your typical workload is mainly short jobs.
Duplex printing slows the machine down to roughly half its single-sided speed so the 20-page text test page, printed on both sides of the paper, took 1min 32secs - a speed of 13 sides per minute.
The quality of the prints the machine produces is generally pretty good. Text is well formed, though slightly light by default, but is smooth and easily readable. Greyscale business graphics are smoother than from some less expensive Samsung printers, though dither patterns are fairly obvious. The range of greys is good enough to reproduce colours with fair differentiation.
Our photographic print showed reasonable detail and the enhanced 1,200dpi resolution of the best print mode smoothes the image, but also makes it a little foggy in comparison with the straight 600dpi version.
The drum and toner cartridge is available in two capacities: 4,000 and 10,000 pages. Using the 10,000 page consumable for better economy gives a cost per page of 2p, including 0.7p for paper.
This is a very good cost; compared with the Canon i-SENSYS LBP6300dn it’s over 0.4p per page less. If you're happy with the quality of Toner Save mode, you can make even bigger savings.
This quick, capable printer gets on with most printing tasks thrown at it. The benefit of Samsung's Toner Save mode will depend on the proportion of your print workload that can make use of it but, potentially, it can make considerable savings in print cost. It's worth emphasising that this is not a simple draft print, and for many internal documents it’ll be more than sufficient. The only slight annoyance with the printer is the relatively low capacity of its paper trays.