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The Samsung ML-2010 is a small, attractive, and affordable monochrome laser printer suitable for a home office, a modest business, or a well-equipped dorm room. Like any low-cost laser printer, the ML-2010 has its limitations, such as a small 150-sheet-capacity main paper tray and only 8MB of memory, neither of which you can expand. That should be no problem if you do only occasional black-and-white document printing at your home or small shop. In fact, the ML-2010's clean, compact design and decent output make it desirable for anyone with limited office space, especially students. We prefer this Samsung to the entry-level Dell 1100. But larger or growing businesses will be better off with a hardy network printer or even a color laser printer.
The Samsung ML-2010 follows in the footsteps of its well-liked predecessor, the Samsung ML-1740. Prices have dropped on laser printers that aim to serve space-squeezed small offices, most notably the sub-$100 Dell 1100. But thanks to better paper handling and more RAM, we prefer the $150 Samsung ML-2010.
The Samsung ML-2010 has a bright white plastic front and soft gray sides and back. The footprint takes up a small 9 by 14 by 18 inches (HWD) with paper installed and the front cover open. The ML-2010 is so petite that the input paper tray, like the one on the Dell 1100, protrudes from the front cover. However, where Dell leaves the paper uncovered and the interior of the 1100 unprotected, Samsung provides a heavy-duty clear plastic cover to shield the paper from spills and help keep dust out of the printer's interior.
The ML-2010 holds 150 sheets of paper in its input tray, and the output bin on top holds 50 sheets, which is adequate. The control panel consists of a dime-size chrome button and two tiny LEDs. The button allows you to switch between automatic feed for plain paper and manual mode for hand-feeding envelopes into the one-page auxiliary slot. You can also choose toner-save mode for draft copies. The LEDs tell you when the printer is ready to print, when it's busy processing a job, or if printing is stalled because of a jam or an empty paper tray.
The ML-2010's combination toner cartridge and print drum sits deep inside the printer behind the front cover. It has a long handle, so it's easy to manage. The ML-2010 is simple to set up and install. All you need is a USB cable; the setup poster comes with the printer, and the drivers are self-loading.
Like the Dell 1100, the ML-2010 ships with a skimpy "starter" toner cartridge that you need to replace after 1,000 pages; the replacement costs $80, and Samsung says it will print about 3,000 pages. With the replacement cartridge, you'll pay around 2.7 cents per page--better than the Dell 1100's per-page cost of 3.3 cents but still not as low as you get with a bigger, pricier laser printer such as the 1.5-cents-per-page Dell 1700n.
The Samsung ML-2010's processor speed is 150MHz--a big upgrade from the ML-1740's wee 66MHz processor. The 8MB of RAM has not been upgraded since the ML-1740, nor can you expand it; however, it's still superior to the Dell 1100's meager 2MB.
The ML-2010 is fast for a printer in its price range and quicker than both the pricier HP LaserJet 1022 and the less expensive Dell 1100. In CNET Labs' speed tests, the ML-2010 printed text at 16.46 pages per minute (ppm) and graphics at 15.66ppm, easily beating the Dell 1100's speed of 12.48ppm for text and 10.68ppm for graphics.
|Black graphics speed||Black text speed|
The Samsung ML-2010's text, printed at the 600dpi default setting, had crisp, sharp edges and was legible even at 2-point size. However, unlike the dark, bold-looking output of the HP LaserJet 1022, the letters printed by the Samsung ML-2010 came out a tad lighter than black.
Unfortunately, graphics prints were mediocre, with horizontal banding apparent in the gradients and in photographs. When we reset the print driver from default to best quality, some of the banding disappeared and the gradients lost some of their paleness, but overall, the improvements were moot.
|Black graphics||Black text|
The Samsung ML-2010 comes with a one-year parts-and-labor warranty. Samsung provides toll-free telephone tech support weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m ET for the life of the printer. This seems like a wealth of support compared to what you get with the Dell 1100, which makes you pay for a warranty after a pitiful 90 days. Manuals, answers to FAQs, and drivers for the Samsung ML-2010 are also available on Samsung's Web site.