In a world of multifunction color printers that do everything short of cooking dinner, monochrome laser printers are often overlooked. They are still the workhorses of most offices, and they are becoming more common in homes and home offices, too. The ideal mono laser printer should offer fast print speeds and excellent text printing while being relatively inexpensive to maintain and use. The Samsung ML-2571N hits on all of these areas, and it's a particularly good fit for home office use. For a mere $199, you get a small-form-factor printer that is quick and Ethernet ready. If you don't need tons of text prints and you think you'll need a scanner, a fax machine, or a copier, you should look into a color inkjet multifunction such as the Canon MP530--its efficient design packs a lot of functions into a small machine and it costs just a little more than you'd pay for the Samsung laser. But if you're sure you need only mono laser printing, the Samsung ML-2571N is a good pick for multiuser home offices.
The Samsung ML-2571N is quite small, even for a mono laser printer. It measures only 14 inches wide, 11.7 inches deep, and 9.7 inches tall. Considering its price and size, we weren't surprised we didn't find anything resembling a control panel; an on/off switch resides on the side, and a cancel button graces the top. Paper handling is also predictably limited. A panel on the front folds out to reveal the two input trays. The main all-purpose tray holds up to 250 sheets of plain paper and has an expansion tab that lets you fill it with legal-size paper. The paper input tray isn't expandable, but it's easy to refill on the fly. Sitting above the all-purpose tray is a single-sheet manual feed tray with adjustable paper guides. The top of the printer houses the output tray, which includes a fold-out tab for corralling longer sheets. The ML-2571N lacks automatic duplexing, but for the price, again, we're not surprised.
The printer comes with a 400MHz processor and 32MB of RAM (not expandable). Befitting its office role, it has USB, Ethernet, and an IEEE 1284 parallel connector. It supports Windows, Mac, and Unix operating systems, so everyone can share happily on a network.
The ML-2571N ships with a so-called starter toner cartridge, which prints about 1,000 pages. The 3,000-page standard toner cartridge retails for about $80, which means text prints cost about 2.6 cents per page, in line with more expensive laser printers.