REVIEW: Samsung ML-2525W

Nothingbeats replacing an old inkjet printer with a wireless laser model. The SamsungML-2525W, released in February by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., hits the sub-$200price point with a smart, compact design that works well in any home or smalloffice space.

The monochrome wireless laser ML-2525W prints via USB 2.0, wired Ethernet and wireless 802.11b/g. It is also compatible with most operating systems: Windows 2000, XP, Vista,2003 Server, 2008 Server and 7; Mac OS X 10.3-10.6; and Linux.

It doesn’tscan or copy, but this means it also doesn’t take up a lot of space. The unit,which can rest comfortably on a desk or small table, is approximately 14 x 15 x8 inches in size and weighs about 17 lbs. The body has a strong, sturdy feeland comes in a classic black matte finish. 

The toppanel has two buttons – one for power and another you press and hold to print configurationreports. The print tray is internal, which protects paper from dust build-up. Thefront panel opens for quick access to paper jams and easy tonerreplacements.

The modeldoesn’t support automatic duplex printing, but you can feed sheets manuallythrough an input slot on the front of the unit if you want double-sided prints.The input slot also allows you to print on various sizes and types of media,such as postcards and envelopes.

Twobenefits of moving from inkjet to laser are speed and sound – and the ML-2525Wdoesn’t disappoint. It takes about 9 seconds for the first page to print fromstandby mode, as Samsung’s specs state, and printing speed is a comfortable 24pages-per-minute at a quiet 50 dBA.

The printtray capacity is 250 sheets, which is half of a standard 500-sheet package of8.5 x 11-inch paper. Printed pages come out at the top of the machine, as opposedto a pull-out tray, and stop when you reach the output capacity of 80 sheets.

Anotherbenefit of laser, compared to inkjet, is lower maintenance. Toner cartridges lastlonger, so if you print often, it will reduce the number of times you get stuckin the middle of a print job. If you print rarely, using toner also means youdon’t have to worry about your cartridges drying up.

Samsung’sMSRP for the ML-2525W is CA$189, which includes a 1,000-page starter tonercartridge. The model’s maximum recommended printing cycle is 12,000 sheets permonth, which equates to about 24 packages of paper and four to eight tonercartridges.

TheML-2525W supports two toner cartridge sizes, which average printing costsbetween $0.04 and $0.05 per sheet. The MLT-D105L cartridge costs $97 and printsroughly 2,500 pages, while the low yield ML-D105S cartridge costs $80 andprints about 1,500 pages.

Thedownside, if moving from a colour inkjet to the black-and-white ML-2525W model,is losing the ability to print in colour. But if you print a lot of text and findthe majority of your colour printing occurs when your black ink cartridge runsout, the loss will be negligible.

Thebenefits of wireless printing can’t be overstated. You not only lose the visualclutter of cords, but gain the freedom to print from as many devices as youwant from any location in your space. But the biggest obstacle, for wirelessprinters in general, remains the setup process.

Samsungpromotes an easy 5-minute plug-and-go installation for the ML-2525W. While thismay be the case for Windows and Linux installations, for this review, thewireless setup involved a Mac laptop running Snow Leopard and the processwasn’t as clear cut.

Afterrunning the installation CD and following a simple set of instructions onscreen, the printer appeared to be installed successfully, but printing wouldonly take place when the machine was connected to the MacBook Pro via cable.

The initialinstallation added the ML-2525W to the print dialogue box, but it was based ona USB connection. To print wirelessly, a second ML-2525W needed to be added tothe Mac’s print dialogue box that was associated with an IP address.

Thesolution was simple, but pinpointing the problem was not, as the setupinstructions overlooked this step in the process. Samsung’s technicalsupport line was equally disappointing as multiple calls to various tier levelsdid not help.

Not onlydid tech support lack the expertise to resolve the issue, they werehesitant to offer any advice at all and suggested the problem was related to my Internet Service Provider. Also,the hours of operation decrease with each tier, so finding the time to schedulea call was a nuisance.

Whilepricing for wireless and laser printing is on the decline, there aren’t a lotof models on the market that include both. The ML-2525W’s main competition isthe HL-2107W, a wireless laser monochrome printer from Brother InternationalCorp. that offers roughly the same specs for a similar MSRP of $169.99.

Majordifferences between the Samsung and Brother models are memory (the ML-2525W has64MB, the HL-2107W has 32MB), print quality (the ML-2525W prints at 1200 x 1200dpi, the HL-2107W prints at 2400 x 600 dpi) and style (the ML-2525W comes inblack, while the HL-2107W is two shades of gray).

Samsung itselfoffers two other black-and-white wireless laser models. The ML-1630W isextremely compact and comes with a piano black finish, but it costs more at$249. The SCX-4500W, priced at $349, is a multi-functionalprinter/scanner/copier model with a similar sleek design and finish.

Two colourlaser wireless models are also available from Samsung: the CLP-315W (MSRP $279)and CLX-3175FW (MSRP $499).

Overall,the ML-2525W offers excellent printing speed, quality and performance for itsprice. The machine looks great too, with a clean, compact design that is simple andstraightforward. The wireless setup could be improved with better tech support and troubleshooting tips for the various operating systems supported,but the benefits of wireless printing will likely override any nuisance you mayencounter during the setup.

Follow me on Twitter @jenniferkavur. 

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