Simple and yet effective (and surprisingly well connected), the Samsung ML-2955DW perfectly personifies the modern mono laser printer. Read more printer reviews.

The lack of colour tends to make these poor choices for graphical work, but for high-speed text churning with a relatively small footprint, a mono laser like the Samsung ML-2955DW is an ideal addition to the office. 

Many lasers may qualify as chunky and unattractive, but the Samsung’s delicately curved edges and lack of a garish colour combination make for a swish printer that blends nicely with the office furniture. It’s not terribly loud either, and lacks the endless droning sound of many cheaper laser printers. More mono laser printer reviews.

Paper is fed into the stiff but reasonably secure 250-sheet drawer, situated in the base of the printer – a nice single-page feed adds a touch of versatility, although you can’t upgrade the facilities from here.

Prints are spat out, laser-style, into the top-mounted output tray. The latter can be folded down when not in use, so neatly protecting the Samsung’s inner workings. The feeding mechanism generally worked effectively for us, although we did experience one or two problems with paper getting stuck.

Luckily the Samsung ML-2955DW is very good at informing you when it’s experiencing an issue with paper loading, so problems can usually be resolved before they turn into messy mass paper jams.

The Samsung isn’t overpowered by a vast control panel. Indeed, the buttons are kept almost to a minimum, with just two main buttons, plus another two dedicated to the Eco and WPS modes. The latter hints at one of the Samsung’s hidden strengths – its connectivity.

Besides the standard USB 2.0 interface, you can also hook up this printer to wired ethernet and to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks. You can even use the MobilePrint feature to send files to the Samsung from mobile devices. The drivers are very straightforward to install, and the decent software includes Samsung’s Easy Print Manager, a quick means of monitoring and maintaining the Samsung ML-2955DW.

Samsung ML-2955DW: Performance

Considering the price tag, the Samsung is a fairly swift model. It didn’t get close to its stated figure of 29ppm, but our 10-page test bundle went through at the rate of 22.2ppm. 

Text quality is very appetising. The characters aren’t the thickest, but they retain elegance and are pleasingly free of the defects you sometimes see in fuzzy low-priced mono lasers. The Samsung’s subtle shading means even images are well reproduced. 

Being a mono printer, it obviously won’t be a first choice for graphics, but you can coax very palatable images from this model – it’s not the fastest though, falling to just 3ppm when faced with detailed picture files.  

There’s an auto-duplexing mode as well, although this did see speed drop to a mere 11.3ppm – virtually halving in performance. That’s still fast enough for most print jobs, although whether many users will want to wait twice as long for the sake of saving paper is questionable. 

The Samsung also comes with an Eco Mode. This uses duplex mode, and also halves the size of the image, printing more than one page on each side of the paper. This didn’t, in fact, save time – it cut the speed from 22.2ppm to 18.75ppm – but may be a useful option for when you want to print off a multi-page document for reference, and don’t want to waste paper. 

It’s accessed from a dedicated button on the control panel, so it only takes a second to toggle on or off, and the prints are still just about large enough to read. 

Using the high-capacity 2500-page toner cartridges, the Samsung ML-2955DW has running costs of around 2.7p for a page of text. For a low-priced mono laser this is a very reasonable cost. 

The £60 Brother HL-2130, for instance, will set you back around 3p a page, while the colour Oki C110 will set you back around 3.6p a time. 

NEXT PAGE: Original PCWorld US review >>

It's the same old story: cheap printer, pricey toner. The Samsung ML-2955DW ships with a starter-size toner cartridge with a 1,000-page yield. Replacements include a 1,500-page cartridge for £54 inc VAT, which works out to 3.6p per page - steep compared with other mono lasers we've tested. The higher-yield cartridge costs £61 and lasts for 2500 pages, or 2.4p per page. If you take a year or more to get through a cartridge, you probably won't care. If you have to replace the cartridges several times a year, however, you will definitely start to feel the pinch. For higher-volume use look for a model which has reasonably priced consumables over a cheap initial purchase price. See 'Printer buying advice: how to choose a printer'.

The Samsung ML-2955DW is otherwise a decent printer. Equipped with a 533MHz CPU and 64MB of memory, it printed plain text in our tests at a middling rate of 18.3 pages per minute. It comes with a 250-sheet input tray and a 150-sheet output tray; the latter has a flip-out plastic panel that catches paper or covers the output area. The printer also has a front manual-feed slot, which you can access by pressing on a small front panel. On my test unit, however, the bendy panel required a pretty hard push to open. See also: Group test: what's the best mono-laser printer?

The top control panel is spare to a fault. It has power and cancel buttons, plus buttons to enable Wi-Fi Protected Setup and 'Eco' mode (explained below). A few indicator lights are present as well, but they suffer from inscrutable icon labels and colour/blink patterns that mean nothing unless you consult the documentation.

Samsung tries to make it easier to save paper and toner with its 'Eco' mode, which automatically combines duplexing, 2-up printing (fitting two reduced-size pages onto one sheet), and a lighter application of toner. These settings are adequate for drafts and internal reference documents, though the lighter toner means that text might be slightly harder to read. If you delve into the 'Eco' tab in the printer driver, you can see estimates of the resources you are conserving with each choice.

Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld

Visit: Printing Advisor

Samsung ML-2955DW [PCA]: Specs

  • Mono laser printer
  • Print resolution 1,200x1,200dpi
  • Quoted print speed B=29ppm
  • Actual print speed B=22.2ppm
  • Supported interface types USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • 250 sheet input tray + single sheet
  • 64MB memory
  • Dimensions (wxdxh) 348x338x197mm
  • 7.2kg
  • Toner cost B= £67
  • Print life (pages) B=2500
  • Mono laser printer
  • Print resolution 1,200x1,200dpi
  • Quoted print speed B=29ppm
  • Actual print speed B=22.2ppm
  • Supported interface types USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • 250 sheet input tray + single sheet
  • 64MB memory
  • Dimensions (wxdxh) 348x338x197mm
  • 7.2kg
  • Toner cost B= £67
  • Print life (pages) B=2500

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung ML-2955DW is priced to fit the budget of small or home offices--at least initially. The toner costs over time will be dear. If you plan to print more than a few dozen pages per week, move up a hundred pounds or so in purchase price to buy a machine with cheaper consumables.

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