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Samsung SF-555P review: Samsung SF-555P

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MSRP: $299.99
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The Good Compact design; easy-to-use keypad; good-quality printing.

The Bad Small paper capacity; slow copier; monochrome scanner offers mediocre image quality.

The Bottom Line This multifunction offers individual users a lot for the money, but small businesses will need more speed and capacity.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Review summary

The Samsung SF-555P is a small printer/scanner/fax machine/copier with a low price and a wide breadth (if not depth) of functions. The SF-555P prints good-quality, monochrome laser text at nearly 10 pages per minute (ppm). The built-in fax machine comes with a telephone handset and an array of faxing features. How can a multifunction do so much and cost so little? For one, it's dependent upon a PC for processing power. Add to that its low-capacity input tray and poky speeds, and it is best suited for a home office, a single corporate user, or a very low-volume business--but nothing more demanding. Following the printed quick-install guide, we connected the SF-555p to a PC (it has both parallel and USB connections) and installed the paper, the toner cartridge, and the software in less than 10 minutes. The multifunction drivers support PCs running Windows 95 OSR2 and later.

The beige-and-gray SF-555P resembles a fax machine, complete with telephone handset. It's compact--14.7 by 12.8 by 9 inches (W, D, H) with the input and output document support trays fully extended--and light, weighing a mere 16 pounds.

The front-and-center control panel features a generously sized numerical keypad above a rather small, one-line, 16-character LCD panel. To the left of the LCD are 20 quick-dial buttons. Above these are useful buttons for saving toner, power, or paper (the latter by printing two pages onto one side of a sheet). A Toll button lets you set a specific time to send long-distance faxes so that you can save on phone charges.

Paper-handling and maintenance areas are easy to access. You lift and tilt forward the main control panel to change the toner cartridge. The scanner/copier's 20-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) and the printer's 150-sheet input tray rise vertically from the center and back of the machine, respectively. The printer's input-tray capacity is adequate for a home office, but a small business will want at least a 250-sheet input tray. Beneath the front control panel are separate trays--an upper one to catch documents feeding through the ADF and a lower one to catch output from the printer. The SF-555P's features are pretty straightforward. The main components are a 600dpi monochrome laser printer with an engine speed rated at 12ppm; a small set of print options available through the driver; and a 300dpi monochrome scanner. The included Samsung Scan Wizard software provides tools for performing basic functions such as scanning to the Web and to e-mail and OCR (optical character recognition).

As a standalone or computer-assisted photocopier, the SF-555P is adequate. The ADF holds up to 20 sheets, and the copier can make up to 99 copies.

The 33.6Kbps fax machine offers several useful options, such as storage for up to 80 speed-dial numbers in an address book, and 160 pages of incoming faxes stored in 2MB of memory. Single-line home offices will appreciate the telephone answering device (TAD) feature that distinguishes faxes from incoming phone calls. Other features include the ability to broadcast one fax to multiple destinations, to insert an urgent fax at the top of the queue (even while the machine is broadcasting), or to request a fax from another machine. There is also a junk-fax-barrier option in the setup menu to block faxes from numbers that aren't in your machine's address book. The Samsung SF-555P performed adequately in CNET Labs' text and graphics speed tests. Despite the vendor's claim that it could print up to 12ppm, the SF-555P printed text at just 9.2ppm; graphics actually came out faster, at 9.5ppm. The Brother MFC-8420's 17ppm engine achieved higher speeds of 13.2ppm for text and 12.26 ppm for graphics, but you'll pay about $250 more for the Brother.

Scanning and copying speeds were slow. The SF-555P took 50.6 seconds to scan a grayscale graphical document. The machine photocopied text at a glacial three pages per minute.

Fortunately, the SF-555P's output mostly looked good. Text was bold and legible, without any missing corners or other fragmentation. Graphics looked clean, dark, and detailed, marred only by a small amount of horizontal banding and a lack of subtle shading in the dark areas of the test document. The scan quality, however, was only fair. Its focus was soft, rather than sharp, fine lines looked broken, and the entire scanned test document appeared overly dark.

Laser printer speed (personal and workgroup)  (pages per minute)
Text  
Text/graphics  
Brother MFC-9700
13.3 
8.5 
Brother MFC-8420
13.2 
12.5 
Samsung SCX-4016
11.5 
11.7 
Samsung SF-555P
9.2 
9.5 

Inkjet printer quality
•Poor   ••Fair   •••Good   ••••Excellent
 Printer  Text  Graphics
 Brother MFC-9700 ••• ••
 Brother MFC-8420 ••• ••
 Samsung SF-555P ••• •••
 Samsung SCX-4016 ••• •••
The Samsung SF-555P is covered by an industry-standard, one-year parts-and-labor warranty. Samsung does not provide a printed manual, just a poster-size quick-install guide and a user guide on CD-ROM. While the user guide has good instructions for setup and use, we couldn't find detailed information about some of the SF-555P's features, such as the junk-fax blocker.

Phone support is free for the life of the warranty. The call is toll-free, and technicians are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.

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