Samsung's ML-2152W is the most feature packed of the company's ML-2150 line of 21ppm, low-cost monochrome lasers. The most basic ML-2150 costs $400; the ML-2151N, which adds Ethernet, goes for $550; and the ML-2152W includes a Wi-Fi interface and costs $650. Small offices or departments and home offices will benefit from the printer's excellent text quality and many useful features for the price, but large or busy workgroups will need a printer with faster speed and more paper-handling capabilities--and much better support.
The ML-2152W is compact and cleanly designed, as lasers go. Its off-white plastic shell measures 15 by 17 by 12 inches (W, D, H). The printer is lighter than usual at 32 pounds, and deep indents in the sides near the bottom make lifting it easier. The power switch, recessed on the right side near the front, is protected from accidental bumps. The control panel sits on top by the output tray.
The ML-2152W has parallel and USB 2.0 ports and a 10/100 Ethernet port. The 802.11b (Wi-Fi) antenna sticks up from the back like a kitten's tail, but it looks somewhat fragile and exposed.
The toner cartridge/imaging drum unit drops vertically down into a wide slot, and it has a handle for lifting. Samsung deserves praise for this idiot-proof design, as well as for the simple USB installation: we just plugged in the cable, turned on the printer, and popped in the driver CD when Windows asked for it. To install Ethernet or Wi-Fi, of course, you'll have to consult the brief, clearly written, printed manuals for Samsung's PortThru and AirPortThru network interface cards and SyncThru network management utilities.
The ML-2152W is equipped well for small offices. An internal duplexer (for two-sided printing) comes standard. The main paper tray in the printer's base holds 500 sheets. A sturdy 100-sheet auxiliary tray (for letterhead, envelopes, and such) pops open in the front. The ML-2152W lacks a wide array of paper-handling add-ons, such as an automatic document feeder or stacking trays; all you can add is a 500-sheet, external paper tray ($149). A rear-exit, straight path handles stiffer media; it also has a sturdy output tray--rare even on pricier printers. This rear door exposes most of the paper path for clearing jams.
The control panel looks confusing at first; the buttons lack the typical hierarchical structure. Fortunately, the LCD provides prompts that walk you safely through the menus.
The ML-2152W has drivers for all versions of Windows back to 95, Mac OS since 8.6, seven flavors of Linux, and several common Unix versions as well. The Windows XP driver that we tested provided controls for useful features such as the duplexer, along with various page formats such as posters and booklets. You can also create watermarks and import background images, such as form templates, to print behind your data.