The Samsung CLP-315W is a full color laser printer with built-in wireless connectivity that makes it easy to link several computers to the printer over a network. The compact CLP-315 series is one of the smallest in its class and the individual toner cartridges save money by giving you the option of replacing each one separately. Although the printer is well-designed, it loses its momentum in print speed and quality. Our test results show that the CLP-315W is as almost twice as slow as the average color laser and output quality is nowhere near acceptable. Priced at $250, the CLP-315W is too much money to put into a machine that can't deliver decent-quality prints.
Design and features
Unlike flashier Samsung printers such as the Samsung ML-1630, this one's design is very straightforward. The majority of the chassis is a dark piano black with touches of glossy plastic trim around the perimeter. The printer sits in at 15.3 inches wide by 12.3 inches deep by 9.6 inches tall and only weighs 24.3 pounds, so it's surprisingly compact compared with other color lasers. For example, the Dell 1320c is double the size and weight of the Samsung and has no built-in wireless print server.
The top of the Samsung printer is just as simple as the chassis, with a single power button and several LED lights to indicate a wireless connection and notify you about paper jams and toner shortages. The control panel annoyingly lacks a dedicated cancel button, so if you want to stop a job in mid-queue, you have to do it manually through the operating system. The top of the unit also has a foldout arm to catch paper on its way out of the feeder. A removable paper tray lives on the bottom of the CLP-315W and can hold the standard 150 sheets of paper in a variety of sizes up to 8.5 inches by 14 inches. Unfortunately, there's no manual feed slot that you commonly see in single function laser printers, but you can use the main input tray for different kinds of irregular media including envelopes, card stock, and transparency papers.
The CLP-315W uses four toner cartridges (three colors and one black) hidden behind a drop-down panel on the front faceplate. The cartridges are lightweight and easy to remove and replace using the color-coded tabs. Each cartridge only comes in one capacity (1,000 pages) and can be purchased through a variety of channels for about $40. Since the black and color cartridges cost the same, we can estimate that each page will cost about 4 cents to print, slightly more expensive than the Dell 1320c. The Samsung is also limited by the number of pages it can print per month. The CLP-315W's duty cycle number is 20,000 pages. Small businesses and workgroups with a high volume of monthly prints might be better suited for other printers such as the Brother HL-4040CN that can handle 35,000 pages per month.
The printer also has built in 802.11b/g for printing wirelessly from your computer. As always, we suggest installing the driver with the printer attached to your computer with USB 2.0 at first, and then setting up an ad-hoc wireless connection. Establishing a wireless connection between the printer and our test bed gave us a bit of a headache, but once we realized how to print out the network configuration report, the rest became easy. The report shows the printer's IP address and other information you need to put in the SyncThru Web Service, a Web server embedded into the driver that lets you adjust your network settings without additional software. Once you obtain all the necessary reports, the connection wizard in SyncThru will handle the rest of the setup process. The whole procedure took approximately half an hour to establish a successful wireless connection.
Relative to other similarly priced color laser printers, the CLP-315W is significantly slower than the pack in both black and white and especially color prints. It scored 13.15 pages per minute for plain black speed, slightly faster than the Dell 1320c. The CLP-315W also takes the longest to spit out any kind of color document, scoring a measly 3.64 pages per minute for color graphics and 4.07 pages per minute for color text. The rest of the units in the comparison lineup finished printing in less than half the time in both categories.
|Color graphics speed||Presentation speed||Color text speed||Black text speed|
Unfortunately, the print quality hardly makes up for the slow print speeds. We experienced inconsistent results between black and white and color prints. As expected from any laser printer, black and white text appears well formed with sharp detail down to the smallest readable font size, but colored characters come out improperly layered, resulting in a thick, smeared composition. Settings embedded into the driver let you set the prints to "darken" or "fine," but we didn't notice any difference in quality throughout our presentation, text, and graphics tests. In the end, the graphic document is the only test we found to be remotely passable. Colors in the composite pictures appear true to form with clean edges and line separation. However, we noticed that the Samsung had difficult time transitioning between colors.
Service and support
Samsung backs the CLP-315W with an industry standard one-year warranty that covers parts and labor in the event of a manufacturer's defect. Telephone support is available everyday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. Finally, Samsung's Web site contains useful information such as manual and driver downloads, a media guide, and a comprehensive list of FAQs.
Find out more about how we test printers.