All-in-one, multifunction printers (MFPs) come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the Samsung Multifunction Xpress M2875FW very much aimed at the smaller end of the business market. To that end it’s built around a mono laser engine with the usual print, copy, scan and fax capabilities bolted on top together with both wired and Wi-Fi networking. Low running costs and a customisable Eco mode are another plus, but some compromises have been necessary to deliver this MFP at a price micro businesses and home workers can afford.
It’s A Laser & It’s Mono
A very smart looking desktop device, the M2875FW is based on a compact monochrome laser with a scanner, complete with automatic document feeder (ADF), bolted on top. Paper is loaded into a single drawer at the bottom capable of holding up to 250 sheets of A4 with, hidden behind a push-to-release plastic panel, a manual feed slot for labels, card, envelopes and other heavier materials up to 220gsm.
Unfortunately the manual feeder only takes one sheet at a time and there are no add-on paper trays for this model making it unsuitable for high-volume work or businesses needing to regularly swap media. Which is a shame given the impressive 12,000 page/month duty cycle of the Samsung laser engine.
On the plus side, double-sided (duplex) printing comes as standard with a maximum print speed of 28ppm although, as with other printers, that figure is for simple text documents and, as such, rarely seen. We tested using a range of typical business documents and got around 12-15ppm on average.
Not quite as fast but still reasonable for a printer in this price bracket – we found it selling online for as little as £165 (ex. VAT). We also found it pretty quick to get the first page out each time, thanks to its 600MHz processor and 128MB of memory.
Two consumables are required to keep the printer working – toner and separate drum unit – which slot easily into place behind a drop-down front panel. High capacity toner cartridges (up to 3,000 pages) cost around £25 (ex. VAT), while a replacement drum unit every 9,000 pages will set you back £35 (ex. VAT).
That equates to a little over 1.1p per page, excluding paper and power. Again, very affordable especially when compared against colour alternatives, whether laser or inkjet. However, bear in mind that it’s monochrome only, which means having to buy a separate printer for colour output.
Scan, Copy & Fax
The scanner is colour capable, and with a 40-sheet ADF sat on top of the printer proved well designed and easy to operate. Thanks to fast warm-up times we found the combination very convenient when it came to ad-hoc copying and scanning duties. In additional network scanning tools are also included, plus the ability to scan to social networking sites such as Facebook, Google Drive and Twitter and scan to PDF and e-book formats.
On the downside, the scanner has only one imaging head, so doubled-sided originals have to be scanned twice to capture everything limiting use with document management systems although a TWAIN driver is available. Scanning can also be slow. Not so much with the default 300dpi settings which we thought acceptable both when copying and scanning to a file but when we opted for 600dpi instead scanning slowed to a snail’s pace.
A fax is also built-in with an integrated address book for ease of use. Which is fine but, with e-mail and social networking almost ubiquitous, we would question how many buyers will make use of this option. That said, all you have to do to turn the printer into a fax is plug it into a telephone line using the cable supplied, and it can also be shared over the network.
Talking of which, an Ethernet port is available for network attachment plus an 802.11n interface to support both attachment to a shared wireless network and direct peer-to-peer connectivity for use with mobile devices. Firmware to handle Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print is also built-in.
Alternatively, a USB port allows for direct attachment to a PC or server and this can also be used to configure the wireless interface rather than have to connect to a wired LAN first as on some printers we’ve tried.
Life Without Colour
It took only a few minutes to get the M2875FW up and running in our offices with the usual wizard to install the required software and a custom tool to setup the Wi-Fi connection. Apple Mac and Windows platforms are both supported and we found the tools supplied very easy to get to grips with, if a little too simplistic at times.
As a general office printer/copier the M2875FW has a lot to commend it. It’s incredibly convenient for walk-up photocopying jobs even if it can’t scan both sides of a page at once. It’s not as quick as a big printer/copier but then it’s nowhere near as expensive either. Similarly, quality is acceptable for most business applications, but if intent on printing and copying lots of photos or greyscale images you’re better off looking elsewhere.
One very nice feature is the so-called Eco mode which, according to Samsung, can significantly reduce the amount of energy, toner and paper consumed by the printer. Eco options can be turned on through the print driver, the Samsung software immediately estimating the savings to be made from duplexing, skipping blank pages and activating the built-in toner save mode. Alternatively, press the Eco button on the printer itself to have copies come out two to the page and double-sided – a good compromise albeit a little disconcerting if you press the button accidentally!
Affordable & Simple To Use
Given the low purchase price, Samsung’s Multifunction Xpress M2875FW represents very good value for money, cramming the general office print, scan, copy and fax tools needed by small businesses into one very easy to use device. It does, however, have its limitations and is likely to come up short if pushed to support larger numbers of users or more specialised applications.