- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2002

My quest to some it may seem unending for great printers continues. This week, a new laser printer arrived and delivered far more than expected, and at a price that is equally amazing, particularly for those of us with some history in the matter.
The new machine in stores now for just $299 is Samsung's ML-1450, which I first saw about six weeks ago at the Consumer Electronics Show. The laser printer can print as many as 15 pages per minute, and is rated to be able to turn out 12,000 pages per month. Supported operating systems include most flavors of Microsoft Windows including XP, Linux and Macintosh. Interfaces include parallel and USB, and an optional network card is also available.
But let's consider price for a minute. Sixteen years ago, I arrived in Washington to handle computers for a nonprofit group. As recalled here before, the head man wanted a laser printer online to turn out letters and other documents, and I was assigned the daunting task of installing and managing the first laser printer, a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 500 Plus, which sold for $4,500, or roughly fifteen times the price of the Samsung ML-1450. The HP was a good machine it wouldn't surprise me if a few were still running somewhere in the District but the capabilities of the new Samsung, as well as the price, are just amazing.
Default character output for the printer is 600 dots per inch, but this can go up to 1200 dpi with a simple setting. The printer includes a huge paper tray, into which one can place as many as 500 sheets of paper and be ready to go. A small plastic indicator window on the front of the paper tray lets you gauge how much is left.
A separate manual feed tray can handle envelopes, while a foldout exit tray at the rear allows those envelopes and other specialty items to make a relatively straight path through the machine. When closed, the exit tray guides paper to the top-mounted collating tray.
The ML-1450 is fast and quiet, but even quieter still when not printing, since the cooling fan only runs when a printing job is being processed. As to speed, I printed about 150 pages from 11 different Microsoft Word files in about 30 minutes, which was about as fast as I could "cue up" the files and my computer could process the job.
Equally impressive in my view is the handling of specialty items and print jobs. For example, I ran some blank check paper through the system, since I use VersaCheck Personal to print checks instead of ordering them from the bank. The finished product was flawless and the paper, which I fed with the manual tray, was automatically recognized by the printer and my computer I didn't have to "select" the correct input tray. It should be noted, however, that if you use the manual feed tray in the front, you should fold down the exit tray since the printer "expects" to have that path open.
Other features found on the Samsung ML-1200 unit I tested a few months back are here as well, including the "cancel/reprint" button, which can either halt or duplicate a print job, as well as the "toner saver" button, which can extend the 6,000 page capacity of the printer's toner cartridge to about 8,400 pages. Samsung sells replacement toner cartridges for $99, which works out to 0.0165-cents per page, based on a 6,000 page use.
There is no printed manual for the Samsung ML-1450; one is supplied on the software CD. But a "quick start" installation sheet is included and, frankly, that's all you may need. This printer's operation is intuitive and extremely impressive overall, and the possibility of adding a network card (albeit a bit pricey at $179) to connect several computers to the printer via Ethernet is just icing on the cake. You can also upgrade the internal memory from 4 MB to 64 MB easily and relatively inexpensively since a standard memory module is involved.
One other item worth noting: the Samsung printer driver will let you print as many as 16 pages of a document on a single sheet. This is great for getting a "thumbnail" view of a large project, as well as for saving paper when printing a huge document.
There's little doubt in my mind that Samsung is rapidly carving an important niche for itself in supplying printers for home offices and small businesses. The ML-1450, at $299, is an incredible achievement that bears serious consideration as your next laser printer. Information can be found online at www.samsungprinter.com.

* Write to Mark Kellner in care of The Washington Times, Business Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; send e-mail to [email protected], or visit the writer's Web page, www.kellner2000.com. Talk back live to Mr. Kellner on www.adrenalineradio.com every Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. EST.

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