Samsung SCX-4200 review: Samsung SCX-4200

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The Good Very inexpensive. Good print speed. Great print quality. Compact form factor.

The Bad No fax functionality. Ethernet networking costs extra. Can't expand paper handling.

The Bottom Line With great print quality and decent speeds, the Samsung SCX-4200 is a no-brainer for a home office or very small office on a budget.

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7.7 Overall

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The Samsung SCX-4200 is a surprisingly inexpensive monochrome multifunction laser printer. For a mere AU$249, you can print, scan, and copy; the only feature it lacks is fax functionality, though you can work around this omission by going the scan-and-e-mail route. In fact, its cost is so low that we haven't seen other printers of its ilk at this price; the SCX-4200 holds up well when looked at against its higher-priced competition from Dell and Lexmark. With its decently fast print speeds and great print quality, the SCX-4200 would fit right in to any home or small office with low-volume needs and a small budget.

The Samsung SCX-4200 sports the same boxy, grey aesthetic as Samsung's other printers. This multifunction laser printer sits 40.8cm wide, 36.3cm deep, and 23.1cm tall -- pretty compact for a laser multifunction. The scanner lid opens to reveal an A4-size flatbed scanner, and the lid's hinges lift to accommodate thick originals.

Paper handling is standard, though, unfortunately, it's not expandable. The input cassette holds up to 250 sheets of copy paper and can be configured to hold up to legal-size paper, though in this configuration, the cassette will jut out from the rear of the printer. A manual-feed slot with adjustable paper guides lets you hand-feed single sheets of paper. The main output slot has a fold-out flap to corral paper and can hold up to 50 sheets. In the rear of the printer is a door that allows for straight pass-through. To engage the straight pass-through mode, simply open the back door; if the door is closed, prints will automatically go to the main output slot. There's no autoduplex option on this printer, so double-sided printing is a manual operation.

The printer's control panel is spare, with only a handful of buttons: Menu; Left, Right, OK, and Back for navigating the menu; Copies for changing the number of copies; Stop/Clear; and Start. A two-line LCD lets you read the menu options, but it's not backlit, so it can be difficult to read under poor lighting conditions.

The front wall of the SCX-4200 folds down to reveal the toner/drum cartridge. The printer ships with a 1,000-page starter cartridge, but replacement cartridges can print an estimated 4,000 pages.The printer has a toner-save mode that reduces the amount of toner used on each print; you'll save money, but you'll also see reduced print quality.

Setting up the printer is an easy task. Simply use the included CD to install the software and drivers and connect the printer to your PC when instructed. The SCX-4200 comes equipped for a USB connection only, but Samsung sells an optional network adapter (or you can check out any number of print servers available from other vendors).

The features of the Samsung SCX-4200 make it best suited for basic business use. The lack of a fax machine is the only major drawback for this office-oriented printer. When making copies, you can make the usual changes, such as increasing the number of copies (up to 99), scaling (50 to 200 percent), altering the copy darkness, and indicating the type of original.

Using the Special Copy option, you can do a number of things. The Clone feature lets you make multiple copies of one image onto a single sheet of paper. According to the user manual, the number of times the image is repeated is determined by the size of the original and the size of the paper. We couldn't find any hard formula for predicting how many clones you will end up with, but Samsung says that theoretically, there is no maximum: the printer should produce as many copies of the image as will fit on the page. When we tried to clone a small 2x2-inch line drawing that looked as though it could be easily cloned six or more times, we got only two clones on the page. On the other hand, when we carefully drew an image that took up almost an entire quarter or an eighth of a sheet of letter-size paper, we were rewarded with four and eight clones, respectively. It's probably a matter of trial and error to get the results you're looking for.

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