Once everything is installed, printing is quick and quiet. Samsung claims a top speed of 16ppm for the ML-1630W, but our five-page text print completed in 32 seconds, equating to 9.38ppm. With longer documents, like our 20-page document, it gets closer to the claimed speed – taking 1:33 for a speed of 12.9ppm.
Even with this reasonable turn of speed, the printer is generally much quieter than most entry-level lasers and although the quoted 45dBA is rather optimistic – we measured peaks of 54dBA during paper feeds – the sounds are not intrusive and we’d be quite happy to have this machine printing alongside us while we worked.
With all the focus on style, you might expect print quality to be something of a secondary consideration, but that’s not so. Text print is sharp and precise and even at the default 600dpi resolution, there are no signs of jagged edges or curves.
Greyscale prints are well engineered and give smooth fill patterns, with the tones we printed proving easily distinguishable from one to another. Indeed, the printer produces remarkably little in the way of banding or other irregularities that can sometimes make mono laser prints look less than professional.
Even the test photo print, often a challenge for a mono laser, reproduced well, again with little banding and smooth transitions from dark to light tones. There was even a commendable amount of shadow detail, which can often blend to black in mono prints.
There’s only one consumable in this printer, a 2,000-page combined drum and toner cartridge – though Samsung includes a 1,000-page (s)cheapskate(/s) starter cartridge in the box with the machine. We couldn’t find a standard cartridge for less than £56, which gives a cost per page of 3.6p. This is the highest page cost we’ve seen in a mono laser for a year or more and is obviously one way Samsung is recovering the low asking price of the machine.
There’s little doubt this is about as smart, neat and stylish as a mono laser printer gets. It’s not all about style, though and the print quality from the ML-6130W is as good as from any entry-level laser we’ve tested. It prints quite quickly, too and is commendably quiet. Having networking, both cable and wireless, in a laser printer at this price point is a bonus.
It’s not all good news, though, as running costs are higher than for most of its competitors and the limit to 90 or so sheets of paper in the feed tray could well make it fiddly to run, unless you only print occasionally. On balance, though, it’s still worth our recommendation, particularly if the look of the technology you buy is particularly important to you.