Nothing beats replacing an old inkjet printer with a wireless laser model. The Samsung ML-2525W, released in February by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., hits the sub-$200 price point with a smart, compact design that works well in any home or small office 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’t scan 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 x 8 inches in size and weighs about 17 lbs. The body has a strong, sturdy feel and comes in a classic black matte finish.
The top panel has two buttons – one for power and another you press and hold to print configuration reports. The print tray is internal, which protects paper from dust build-up. The front panel opens for quick access to paper jams and easy toner replacements.
The model doesn’t support automatic duplex printing, but you can feed sheets manually through 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.
Two benefits of moving from inkjet to laser are speed and sound – and the ML-2525W doesn’t disappoint. It takes about 9 seconds for the first page to print from standby mode, as Samsung’s specs state, and printing speed is a comfortable 24 pages-per-minute at a quiet 50 dBA.
The print tray capacity is 250 sheets, which is half of a standard 500-sheet package of 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Printed pages come out at the top of the machine, as opposed to a pull-out tray, and stop when you reach the output capacity of 80 sheets.
Another benefit of laser, compared to inkjet, is lower maintenance. Toner cartridges last longer, so if you print often, it will reduce the number of times you get stuck in the middle of a print job. If you print rarely, using toner also means you don’t have to worry about your cartridges drying up.
Samsung’s MSRP for the ML-2525W is CA$189, which includes a 1,000-page starter toner cartridge. The model’s maximum recommended printing cycle is 12,000 sheets per month, which equates to about 24 packages of paper and four to eight toner cartridges.
The ML-2525W supports two toner cartridge sizes, which average printing costs between $0.04 and $0.05 per sheet. The MLT-D105L cartridge costs $97 and prints roughly 2,500 pages, while the low yield ML-D105S cartridge costs $80 and prints about 1,500 pages.
The downside, 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 find the majority of your colour printing occurs when your black ink cartridge runs out, the loss will be negligible.
The benefits of wireless printing can’t be overstated. You not only lose the visual clutter of cords, but gain the freedom to print from as many devices as you want from any location in your space. But the biggest obstacle, for wireless printers in general, remains the setup process.
Samsung promotes an easy 5-minute plug-and-go installation for the ML-2525W. While this may be the case for Windows and Linux installations, for this review, the wireless setup involved a Mac laptop running Snow Leopard and the process wasn't as clear cut.
After running the installation CD and following a simple set of instructions on screen, the printer appeared to be installed successfully, but printing would only take place when the machine was connected to the MacBook Pro via cable.
The initial installation added the ML-2525W to the print dialogue box, but it was based on a USB connection. To print wirelessly, a second ML-2525W needed to be added to the Mac’s print dialogue box that was associated with an IP address.
The solution was simple, but pinpointing the problem was not, as the setup instructions overlooked this step in the process. Samsung’s technical support line was equally disappointing as multiple calls to various tier levels did not help.
Not only did tech support lack the expertise to resolve the issue, they were hesitant 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 schedule a call was a nuisance.
While pricing for wireless and laser printing is on the decline, there aren’t a lot of models on the market that include both. The ML-2525W’s main competition is the HL-2107W, a wireless laser monochrome printer from Brother International Corp. that offers roughly the same specs for a similar MSRP of $169.99.
Major differences between the Samsung and Brother models are memory (the ML-2525W has 64MB, the HL-2107W has 32MB), print quality (the ML-2525W prints at 1200 x 1200 dpi, the HL-2107W prints at 2400 x 600 dpi) and style (the ML-2525W comes in black, while the HL-2107W is two shades of gray).
Samsung itself offers two other black-and-white wireless laser models. The ML-1630W is extremely compact and comes with a piano black finish, but it costs more at $249. The SCX-4500W, priced at $349, is a multi-functional printer/scanner/copier model with a similar sleek design and finish.
Two colour laser 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 its price. The machine looks great too, with a clean, compact design that is simple and straightforward. 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 may encounter during the setup.