The Samsung SCX-4500 is a good overall performer, offering the benefits of high-quality monochrome laser prints and colour scans without putting a dent in your budget.

Most laser multifunction printers (MFPs) have the ability to print in colour and are built for small-to-medium businesses - but the daily cost of colour printing is expensive. For the cost conscious, a monochrome multifunction laser printer such as Samsung's SCX-4500, which includes a built-in scanner and copier, is a welcome alternative.

Sporting a sleek, black exterior with a glossy finish, the Samsung SCX-4500 sits attractively on your desk.

The SCX-4500 is light and compact for an MFP, weighing about 8.6kg. However, the Samsung SCX-4500 lacks an output tray for your prints. You'll have to turn the SCX-4500 away from the edge of your desk to prevent papers from falling on the floor.

Quick and quiet, the Samsung SCX-4500 features an intuitive, touch-sensitive control panel with only seven buttons (Power, Start Copy, Scan to PC, Stop/Clear, Darkness, Reduce/Enlarge, and Copies). The panel's simplicity makes it easy to work the Samsung SCX-4500; there's no fretting over the controls.

The Samsung SCX-4500's scanning software is intuitive and well designed, too. You'll appreciate the software's options; for example, you can set image type (e.g., true colour RGB and lineart), resolution (up to 600-by-2,400 dots per inch), document type, and filters to adjust sharpness or blur. Other MFPs we've tested include software with only a minimal number of customisation options.

The SCX-4500 turned in speedy print results. It took 13 seconds to print a 1-page Word document, 46 seconds to print a 10-page Word document, and 31 seconds to print a 4-page PDF. The Samsung SCX-4500's scanning speed isn't shabby either. With sharpening turned off, the scanner took 77 seconds to scan an 8-by-10in photo at 600dpi, and 78 seconds to scan a 4-by-6in photo at 1,200dpi.

When it comes to image quality, the Samsung SCX-4500 doesn't disappoint. The SCX-4500 earned a Good rating (on a scale of Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor) from our panel of experts in our Text Quality test; overall, text appeared clean and smooth, but not as sharp as the output from other laser printers we've tested.

Print quality lost integrity at finer point sizes. On our Graphics, Fine Lines, and Gradients test, the Samsung SCX-4500 earned a Good rating: fine lines were clean and well preserved, gradients looked flushed and weren't well-distinguished, and graphics looked professional though a bit dotty.

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