Samsung heralds a fast ‘first page’ time of eight seconds from Ready mode with the ML-3710ND. We wouldn't dispute this, but there is the proviso that most printing isn't done from Ready mode. With the default settings, the printer sleeps after just 60 seconds, so even in a busy office, most jobs will have to wake the machine first, which doubles the first page out time.
The company claims a top speed of 34ppm and while the printer certainly prints pages quickly, this figure is as usual a bit optimistic. Our 5-page text document returned a speed of 15.8ppm, though this increased to 25ppm on the 20-page long document. In case you're wondering, our speed results include processing time but, for consistency, we always print from Ready mode, so we're not timing printer warm-up.
The printer supports duplex as standard and our 20-page document printed on 10 sheets took 1:24, equivalent to a speed of 14.3 sides per minute. We would expect to see roughly half the single-sided speed, so this is a bit low. Watching the machine print, there are two obvious pauses in the duplex print cycle, where other printers manage a smoother paper transit.
Print quality for text is crisp and clean, the effective print resolution of 1200dpi giving a professional result. Even in toner save mode, characters are well formed and print just looks a little lighter than in normal mode.
Greyscale graphics are also clean, with no signs of banding and a good range of greys to simulate different colours. Even the test photo print, usually a struggle for a mono laser, came through well, though some detail was lost in the darker greys.
With three different toner capacities, you can select the consumable that best fits your budget. You get the best economy from the highest capacity cartridge, and using this 10,000 page consumable gives a cost per page of 2.1p, including 0.7p for paper. This is an impressively low figure and is only beaten by companies like Kyocera Mita, which specialise in low running costs.
As a general office workhorse, the Samsung ML-3710ND ticks all the boxes. It prints fast, though not as quickly as the spec claims, produces good quality greyscales and excellent black text and is cheap to run. The flexible and versatile eco settings help to ensure a good balance between effective print and lower environmental costs.