Over the past year we’ve been spoilt for choice with lower-priced mono laser printers. It’s made the thought of even a fast model for around £200 – like the Samsung ML-3710ND – almost underwhelming.
The Samsung ML-3710ND’s out-of-the-box experience seems to point to the bottom of the market. Even against the generally unattractive exteriors of laser printers, the Samsung ML-3710ND is decidedly unsightly.
We don’t mind the business-like grey casing, although a two-tone palette is a look that never seems to work on printers. Far worse is the hideous ridged front. Visually, the Samsung ML-3710ND is quite alarming.
The control panel isn’t the fanciest we’ve seen either. Buttons aren’t particularly well marked, and when the printer goes into sleep mode (which it does very frequently by default), you have to press the power on button in order to make it lurch back into life. Thankfully it takes only about four seconds to wake up.
This is even though the printer appears to be on already, and the uninitiated user might think the power button would switch the entire printer off. The text display gives you a minimum of information, and the navigation system is acceptable, but workmanlike. You also don’t get much in the way of instructions.
At this point, you may be thinking that the Samsung ML-3710ND hasn’t much going for it. However, if the printer you’re looking for is to be an affordable model that prints well and at good speeds, and which comes with decent upgrade options, then you’d be very wrong to dismiss the ML-3710ND. It’s actually an extremely effective text-churner for the money.
Samsung ML-3710ND: features
Connectivity options include 10/100 ethernet, so it’ll slot easily into most office networks. Its 128MB of RAM can be boosted to 384MB, although for most text work the standard memory will be more than enough.
The 250 sheet input tray is a touch stiff to adjust, but provided you’re happy to use one size of paper in it, the capacity is solid enough at this price point. The substantial output tray built into the top of the Samsung can hold up to 150 sheets.
You can also buy a 520-sheet second tray for around £140, although several companies were offering this half-price when bought with the Samsung ML-3710ND itself. Include the standard 50-sheet multipurpose feed, and the Samsung can produce a maximum of 820 sheets. For a £200 laser, that kind of potential is very impressive.
Samsung ML-3710ND: performance
Samsung claims the ML-3710ND can turn out 35 pages per minute. It gets close to this in its fastest mode, falling marginally short with 28.6 pages per minute.
In best-quality mode, the performance drops only slightly to 27.3ppm – still faster than the Kyocera Mita FS-1320D’s 26.1ppm.
The Samsung ML-3710ND’s text is a little thin, and won’t please those who like their lettering to be dark and thick. The fine characters are well defined though, and the neat text is easy to read. It had no problems handling a variety of font sizes, and the ML-3710ND even has the subtlety needed to handle graphics.
Pictures are never going to look their best in greyscale, but the Samsung ML-3710ND has a sufficient number of shades to be able to make these look relatively good, with strong definition and no problems with the dreaded banding.
The Samsung ML-3710ND comes with auto-duplexing as standard. The best mode of 27.3ppm comes down to 16.2ppm when used with duplexing. A loss of over 40% of the speed doesn’t look good at first glance, but given that you’re still getting good quality text at the impressive rate of 16.2ppm, the Samsung’s ability to save paper could prove invaluable.
Indeed, Samsung’s drivers have a range of eco tools, allowing you to cut down on various aspects of your printing, while telling you how much you’re saving, in terms of paper, power and carbon dioxide. This system of informing us about our consumptive habits is a great way to convince us to save where we can.
Mono lasers can be a little more expensive on running costs, although the Samsung ML-3710ND manages to keep consumable prices down. There’s also a choice of cartridges.
The most cost-effective solution is the MLT-D205E, which can be bought for around £135, which equates to a cost of 1.4p for a page of black text. This is in line with other models like the Kyocera Mita FS-1320D.
Meanwhile, the MLT-D205L version offers a slight drop in value for money (1.7p a page) but will set you back a less eye-watering £86.
There is an even cheaper £56 2000-page cartridge, which comes out at a rather steep 2.8p a page. In truth, we suspect most will go for the highest yielding option, but it’s nice that Samsung has given its users a choice of three.