Samsung's pitch for the ML-1630 is that they wanted to create -- and we're quoting here -- "a printer that did not look like a printer at all". This left us dizzy with anticipation -- would Samsung deliver a printer that in fact looked like a Christmas cake? A Mallard? Some kind of Chainsaw? The possibilities, seemed, to borrow another marketing catchphrase, to be endless.
What they've delivered indeed doesn't look like a printer. Well, not much. If you chopped the top half off of any recent AIO inkjet, and draped the whole lot in a Plasma TV's worth of piano black plastic, you'd have a very good image of what the ML-1630 actually looks like. It also faintly reminds us of some enterprise-level desktop PCs in slim cases, but in no way Christmas cakes, Mallards or Chainsaws. We'll just have to go back to the dreaming board on that one.
The top panel of the ML-1630 also acts as a touch panel for stopping print jobs and powering the unit on and off. To the side of that lies an LED status panel that powers down when the ML-1630 isn't engaged in any task. The rear of the printer houses the power socket, along with another power switch and a single USB data socket. There's no network port, so those looking for a network printer will either need to share the ML-1630 via a PC, or look elsewhere.
The remarkable thing about the ML-1630 is that it isn't an inkjet, but a monochrome laser, and they're typically both very functional looking (or, in other words, ugly) creatures, and large to boot. Samsung refers to the ML-1630 as the world's "slimmest" laser printer. There's an important caveat here, however. The ML-1630 is really only "slim" in one dimension. Measuring in at 332mm by 375 by 121.5mm, it's basically a dwarf printer; Samsung could just have easily described it as the world's "shortest" laser printer -- but of course that doesn't sound quite as good on the advertising copy. The real practical upshot of this is that unless you're planning to mount the ML-1630, server-rack style, the printer will still take up as much desk space as a regular laser printer. It'll just look prettier while it does so.
The ML-1630 is a monochrome-only laser printer. The model up from the ML-1630, the AU$399 SCX-4500, features a scanner, making it a true AIO, but the ML-1630 is just a plain old printer.