Laser-based multifunction printers continue to drop in price and Samsung's SCX-4600 is one of the least expensive we've tested. At just a smidge over £100, it's still some way from being an entry-level machine and is quite suitable as a home and small office workhorse.
Decked out in frosted black with high-gloss trim round the edges, the machine sits squat and purposeful on the desk. The easy-to-lift scanner lid is provided with extending hinges, so you can put a book on the flatbed and still close it.
Directly in front of the scanner is a simple but functional control panel, running the full width of the machine. There's a 2-line by 16-character LCD display which, even without a backlight, is easy to read under normal light. To the right of this are a four-way button ring with an OK button in the centre and a ring of blue LEDs round the outside, which cycles round when the SCX-4600 is printing.
Three buttons to the right of the ring cater for copying ID cards, scanning to a PC and printing the current screen. This last function is so far unique to Samsung laser printers and multifunctions and produces a scaled image of the current screen in a single click. This is a very handy extra, particularly if the screen contains a page from a Web site.
Below the control panel is a slot for output pages and, although this has a small extending paper support and flip-up stop, it isn't actually needed if you're using A4 paper, which projects by 25mm or so and is easy to collect when a job is complete. You can lift the scanner section of the printer up slightly if you need to get a hand in to deal with paper jams, but we had no trouble during testing.
A 250-sheet paper tray sits at the bottom of the front panel and there's a single-sheet feed slot for special media, directly above this. At the back there's just a single data socket for USB, as this machine has no network connection.
Drivers are supplied for Windows versions from 2000 onwards and OSX from 10.3. Drivers for various Linux distributions are downloadable. Software installation is straightforward and includes basic document management and OCR software.
The only consumable is a single drum and toner cartridge, which slides in from the front, once you've folded down the front cover. The cartridge is provided pre-installed, though you do have to remove it, pull off protective tapes and reinsert it before you can start printing.