REVIEW: Samsung ML-3310ND

Samsung is one of the world’s largest electronics manufactures and it has a good foothold in numerous markets in many territories. Regarded as a true innovator in several fields, the South Korean company has yet to make its mark in the business printer category—a market dominated by HP, Canon, Xerox and Epson. Nevertheless, the company produces a wide range of monochrome and colour printers that suit the individual working at home right up to the enterprise. Its latest product, the ML-3310ND (£150), has been designed to provide exceptional A4 monochrome print quality and value for the small workgroup. Let’s see if it delivers.

Features

With the ML-3310ND, Samsung has tried to make printing as simple as possible for Windows, Linux and Mac users—and it has largely succeeded. Measuring a compact 366 x 368 x 241mm (9.74kg), the ML-3310ND is smaller than most other monochrome laser printers on the market. More significant, its clean design, minimal controls and a simple menu structure means everyone in a small office can utilise all its features with minimal effort. The downside is that the printer lacks any multifunction capabilities, so it can’t scan, fax or copy. The plus side of this is that running costs are kept to a minimum and there’s no need for a complicated menu system.

The most important feature for a busy office is simple paper handing and low running costs. The ML-3310ND handles both reasonably well, allowing users to print on a relatively wide range of papers (including up to 5 envelopes) and card stock at a lower cost compared to other printers.

The printer comes ready-fitted with a 2,000-page cartridge and Samsung quotes a cost-per-page at 0.019p. Additional toner cartridges are available in a standard-yield 2,000-page version (£49.14) and a high-yield 5000-page version (£83.51), which provides a lower cost per page and requires fewer replacements. Users can also upgrade the standard 250-page capacity cassette and 50-page multi-purpose tray with a 520-page optional cassette (£212.86) for even larger capacity paper handling.

When it comes to printing, the ML-3310ND is no slouch—thanks to its Samsung 375MHz processor and 64MB memory. The first page is output in under 10 seconds and a rapid 31ppm print speed shouldn’t create any holdups in the office. And the use of simple laser technology helps to keeps paper jams at bay. Print quality is rich and crisp at its native resolution of 600 x 600dpi, and even more so at its best of 1200 x 1200dpi.

Running costs are a big issue for businesses and the cost of printing shouldn’t be ignored. It’s great to see Samsung has included a dedicated ECO button, which selects the toner save mode. Going one step further, the IT administrator can customise the ECO settings to also convert printouts to two or four pages per sheet, as well as print in duplex as standard. Furthermore, with the unique Result Simulator, managers can see exactly how much CO2, electricity and paper have been saved with the selected settings.

Connectivity isn’t the ML-3310ND’s strongest selling point. Sure there’s a USB 2.0 port and Ethernet 10/100 Base-TX interface for hooking it up to the network, but we’re disappointed there is no wireless connectivity by way of Wi-Fi or even Bluetooth. Presumably, Samsung opted to keeps things really simple in order to drive unit costs as low as possible. Another disappointment is the operating noise level of 51dBA, which isn’t “whisper quiet” at all. The printer’s buttons are also annoyingly noisy when clicked.

Managing the ML-3310ND on a network is a snap thanks to Samsung’s range of admin tools. Users can change printer settings from a regular Web browser and managers can upgrade firmware, check the printer’s status, receive low toner level warnings, system error notifications and even usage and customer billing summaries. Also worth mentioning is Samsung’s AnyWeb Print software, which lets users easily drag and drop content from different Web pages onto a printable scrap board in a browser window. Items can be printed or saved in different file formats, making it an easy way to collect, arrange, and edit Web-based resources.

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Summary

Simple to use and maintain over a network, the Samsung ML-3310ND is a solid workhorse for an office printing up to 50,000 black-and-white pages per month. If you’re a small business looking for a no-nonsense monochrome printer that allows you to save money on ink—as well as paper with the duplex option—this is an excellent choice. And as it prints at 1200 x 1200 dpi—twice the resolution of most other mono lasers but at the same speed—the ML-3310ND is equally an excellent option if quality is what you’re looking for.