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Samsung ML-2851ND review: Samsung ML-2851ND

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Samsung's ML-2851ND is a barebones monolaser printer with a few extra features attached that will appeal to the small-to-medium business crowd that simply needs to print out text documents or light graphics. The $330 price tag is higher than average for a monochrome printer (especially one that that isn't wireless), and the Dell 1720 monolaser has the same features for $30 less. Still, the Samsung is a faster printer with higher quality prints. If those are deciding factors for you, go with the Samsung ML-2851ND.

7.5

Samsung ML-2851ND

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Lightning-fast text speed; excellent text print quality; compact; built-in duplexing; network ready with straightforward setup; comprehensive driver settings.

The Bad

Expensive; mediocre graphics print quality.

The Bottom Line

Small businesses should take a serious look at the Samsung ML-2851ND's monolaser because of its excellent print speed, text print quality, autoduplexer, and networking features. It's a little more expensive than the competition, but its chart-topping test results speak for themselves.

Design and Features
The Samsung ML-2851ND isn't much to look at. It looks unsurprisingly similar to every other monolaser currently on the market. We wouldn't call it ugly; more like utterly forgettable.

It measures 8.3 inches tall, 14.3 inches wide, 14.5 inches deep, and weighs 26.2 pounds. The top of the unit has one big power button and one of two LCDs for power and print status. The input tray feeds into the bottom and can hold the standard 250 sheets of paper; Samsung also gives the option to purchase another 250-sheet drawer as an accessory. The Samsung does have an additional tray on the front for single sheet feeds, but again, the Samsung ML-2851ND is as basic as you can get in a monolaser, with no bells or whistles other than a built-in duplexer for printing double-sided sheets of paper.

The Samsung ships with a standard yield toner cartridge capable of producing 2,000 pages, but they also sell a 5,000-page high-yield cartridge for $100. We did the math and it factors out to approximately 2 cents per page for the high yield, which is good but not the best deal you can get. Samsung rates the printer's monthly duty cycle at 3,000 pages, which will be fine for most small-to-medium-size businesses.

You can either connect the printer to a computer with a USB 2.0 cable (not included) or through a network by way of a wireless router. Attaching it to your network is as easy as installing the driver onto the host computer and then simply connecting an Ethernet cable from the printer to your router. From start to finish, we successfully connected the host computer as well as two tangential computers to the ML-2851ND in less than 10 minutes.

Along with the typical driver options (layout, duplex, watermark, overlay), you can also adjust the resolution to 600 or 1,200 dpi. It also boasts a text-enhancement option as well as a toner save mode that, according to Samsung, will lower toner consumption up to 40 percent consumption.

Performance
Although the ML-2851 isn't much to look at, it really shows its colors in both speed and text print quality. It's fairly rare to see a printer crank out text, graphics, and PowerPoint presentations at the same speed, but this Samsung printed about 20 pages per minute across the board. You can see below that it compared very admirably against two speedy competitors. It placed second in all of the categories to the top-performing Lexmark E350d, but the two came very close in our presentation and black text tests. Conversely, the Samsung printed much faster than Dell's 1720dn.

CNET Labs' monolaser speed tests (pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Presentation   
Black Graphics   
Black Text   
Lexmark E350d
21.22 
25.47 
24.13 
Dell 1720dn
11.79 
21.59 
13.46 
Samsung ML-2851ND
20.28 
21.8 
20.68 

Like most monolasers, the Samsung text quality results were superb, with dark lines and even thickness in bold fonts and large lettering. Navigating through the driver, you'll find options to "Print all text to black" and "Print all text to darken," which do exactly that: They allow the printer to make dark lines and text even darker, enhancing those solid characters for extra emphasis. The mono graphics page, however, was not without its shortcomings. The black-to-white gradations were marred with both vertical and horizontal lines, and we noticed muddy patches dumped throughout the page, most notably on large blocks of black color. Portrait shots were tolerable, and the graphic characters were on par with text quality; lasers aren't meant for heavy graphics anyway, so overall we were happy with the results.

Service and Support
Samsung supports the ML 2851ND with a one-year limited warranty and toll-free tech support. Samsung's online Support Center also offers a how-to guide, an FAQ, and software downloads including drivers, manuals, and firmware updates.

Find out more about how we test printers.

7.5

Samsung ML-2851ND

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8Support 8