- Review Price: £437.31
Office multifunction printers range from a simple inkjet for the home office right up to large departmental devices. Samsung’s SCX-5635FN comes in around midway between these two and is intended for a medium-size workgroup or perhaps the entire office of a small company.
It’s a big, robust machine with its chassis matching the full width of its flatbed scanner. The scanner is fitted with a generous, 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) and the control panel has plenty of room for its small number of buttons. The fold-down, 50-sheet multipurpose paper tray looks almost lost in the SCX-5635FN’s big front face. A 250-sheet main paper tray sits at the bottom and a second, optional tray of the same capacity can be fitted underneath.
A fully bitmapped LCD display, which normally shows four lines of characters, is skirted down the right-hand side by three illuminated mode buttons for fax, copy and scan. Further right, there’s one of Samsung’s illuminated, four-way control wheels and a numeric pad for entering fax numbers or pin numbers for secure printing.
To the left of the display are buttons for ID card copy – where both sides of a card can be scanned and printed out on a single sheet – and scan to or print from a USB drive. A large green LED set into the front lip of the machine turns red for error conditions and can conveniently be seen across an office.
At the back of the SCX-5635FN are sockets for USB and Ethernet, as well as for a phone line and separate handset if you choose to use one. Physical setup is straightforward as the machine uses a single, integrated drum and toner cartridge. These have generous capacities of 4,000 pages for the standard-yield and 10,000 pages for the high-yield consumables.
Drivers are provided for Windows and OS X and for various distributions of Linux. The machine can also be used with Citrix and SAP, but only in a compatibility mode. The peculiarly named SmarThru 4 and SmarThru Office applications are also supplied for basic document scanning and printing.
Samsung rates the machine at up to 33ppm, but the fastest speed we saw under test was 25.5ppm for our 20-page text document. The five-page document was slower at 14.3ppm and the machine takes around 20 seconds to wake up from sleep mode. In a typical office, you’ll need to add that time onto most print jobs.
Duplex print is standard in this device and our 20-page document, printed as a 20-side, 10-page job took 1min 22secs – a speed of 14.6 sides per minute. This is a bit over half the speed we saw on the simplex document and is typical for laser printers of this type.
12 seconds for a single-page copy from the flatbed is good and a five-page copy through the ADF only took 21 seconds – this is a quick machine for copies. 15 x 10cm prints from a PC and a USB drive each took around a quarter of a minute.
Samsung’s spec sheet claims that duplex copying is also built-in, but this is not quite true. While the machine can read single-sided sheets from the ADF and print them as duplex pages, the scanner itself is only a simplex device, so you can’t copy a duplex document to another duplex document.
Print quality is fine for text, with sharp, dense characters and no signs of unsightly artefacts. Greyscale graphics were marred by the darker tones applied to many greys taken from a colour original. It was quite difficult to read black text printed over some of them, where other mono lasers have done a lot better.
Text copying is fine, too, and as good as you’re likely to get from a medium-range photocopier. When you try copying greyscale graphics or images, though, they’re very likely to print out all-black. The default setting in the SCX-5635FN is for black text, but you can switch it to Text and Photos from the front panel.
The trouble is that although you do then get greyscales, they come through very dark and only copy lightness is directly adjustable. You can play around with the lightness of the images you print through software, of course, but in an office environment, you really just want it to do a good job on the default settings.
The only consumable for this machine is the single-piece drum and toner cartridge and using the high-capacity 10,000 page version gives a cost per page of 1.8p, including 0.7p the paper. This is very economical and is one of the main advantages of the machine.
The Samsung SCX-5635FN is a very workmanlike, office multifunction machine with good speed, low running costs and versatile operation. Its greyscale print quality is not all it could be, though, and it may take some fiddling to get photo images in printed pages looking good.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 6
|Paper Size||Letter, Legal, Officio, Folio, A4, B5 (JIS), B5 (ISO) Envelope, Executive, A5, Custom Size|
|Sheet Capacity||300 sheets|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||35 ppmipm|
|Scan Resolution (Dots per inch)||600 dpi, 600 x 600dpi|