Samsung quotes 4ppm for colour print and our five-page, mixed text and colour graphics document took 1 minute 27 seconds. This equates to 3.45ppm, probably the closest to a published figure we’ve seen this year. The 15 x 10cm photo image took 33 seconds, making this just under 2ppm, including rasterising time.
Print quality is okay, but not ideal. Black text is noticeably over-printed, with letters looking heavy and over-emboldened. Colour business graphics are bright and with little visible stipple, but some colours don’t work particularly well with black text overprints and there are occasional unwanted artefacts. Photographic images include smooth colour gradations for a laser, but colours are also over-vivid and may need to be manually toned down in the driver.
The CLP-300 is commendably quiet in operation, with few of the thumps and bangs other budget colour lasers offer. The noises it does make are subjectively unobtrusive.
There are six different consumables in the CLP-300, which may need replacing at different frequencies. The black toner should last for 2,000, 5 per cent cover pages, while each of the colour toners lasts for half that, at the same coverage. The imaging unit is good for 20,000, 5 per cent pages, so if you consistently print colour at 20 per cent cover, you can reduce the life to 5,000 pages. The toner bottle will take waste toner from 5,000 5 per cen prints, too.
All this gives page costs of 2.8p for black prints and 10.4p for colour ones. These costs are competitive when compared with Canon or HP colour lasers in the same price bracket. As you pay more for your laser printer, you usually pay less per page for the consumables, but looking at the budget market, say under £200, you won’t do much better than these figures.
It would be good to say that the CLP-300 offers everything you could want from a budget machine. In fact it ticks most of the boxes, but with one fairly important omission. It’s cheap to buy, no more expensive than its competitors to run, gets quite close to its rated print speeds and is very easy to use. It’s the colour print quality which isn’t quite there. It may be fine for use within an office, but it’s a bit over-saturated for more demanding uses, particularly if there’s any photographic content in the print jobs.