A laser printer that produces business-quality documents usually carries a minimum $400 price tag. But attention, laser shoppers -- there's now a half-price sale.
At $199, Samsung's ML-4500 is the first laser printer to break the $200 barrier, and while it won't give you stellar performance with photos, it's fast and reliable with most other jobs.
Printing at eight pages per minute and offering 600 dpi resolution, the 13-pound ML-4500 offers specifications that are as good as its $400 counterparts. But Samsung has had to cut corners in a few areas in order to offer the bargain-basement price.
We tested the ML-4500 side-by-side with two HP office printers, a 5-year-old LaserJet 4M with 600 dpi resolution
and a new LaserJet 4050 workgroup printer with 1,200 dpi resolution.
To the naked eye, the Samsung's text quality was just about as good as either of the HP models, but it wasn't able to match either the older or newer LaserJets in producing the detail and gray-scale quality required for photographs. Photos from a Web site, for instance, show up a shade or two darker when printed on the Samsung, with fewer gradations.
The printer also comes with a parallel port connection only, at a time when most office printers are switching to the Universal Serial Bus. As a result, it will work only with PCs running Microsoft Windows.
Although Samsung says the ML-4500 has a duty cycle of 5,000 pages a month, its total life expectancy is 50,000 pages, which works out to considerably less output.
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