Samsung CLP-300Dec 6th, 2007 | By Archive
: 12/6/07 – 06:58:10 PM
Page 1 : Index
: Samsung Canada
Whether you are an overclocker or the average computer user, a printer comes in handy every now and then. As a student, I can be somewhat of a tree killer printing out notes and reports. My latest rounds of reports called for need of some color photos and the call out to Samsung for a color laser printer landed me with the Samsung CLP-300.
The CLP-300 is touted to be the smallest and lightest color laser printer currently available on the market. When it arrived, I was quite excited to see how it would perform as I've already heard a few things about this printer from my colleagues in the industry.
Page 2 : Package & Contents
When the CLP-300 arrived at my house, I was expected a small compact printer like my old inkjets. I was surprised to see a reasonable large box sitting on my floor. The box was definitely manageable by one person, but it was by no means small. I do agree with Samsung in saying it probably is one of the smallest true color laser printers on that market.
Since this was already a unit that other's had reviewed, the box was far from being in perfect condition. However, it was still easily identifiable as the CLP-300.
Opening up the box I was greated with a "Quick Install Guide" on how to setup the printer. It was a very easy read and following these instructions I was able to get the printer up and running in 5 minutes.
With the literature out of the way, it's easy to see the printer protected by inches of foam and the four individual toner packages.
Some accessories included are the four toner packages, a power cord and driver CD.
All that remains is to remove the protective Styrofoam and to pull out the printer.
Before we go any further, we'll take a quick look at the specifications to see what to expect from the printer.
Page 3 : Specifictions
Here are the specifications of the CLP-300.
It's worth noting that the CLP-300 is also available with a network card, CLP-300N. This is great if you don't have your own home server but have multiple computers hooked up to a network. There is also an upgraded model of the CLP-300 called the CLP-350N.
Page 4 : Installation
Installation for me was very straightforward but we're going to going to cover every physical detail there is on this printer before we look at the driver configuration. The first thing I did was pull out the paper tray and load some paper in.
If you don't read the Quick Install Guide, you'll wonder why the paper is lifting out at the top. In order to correct this, you need to press a few tabs down and expand the paper tray to accommodate 8.5 by 11" sheets.
The unfortunate aspect of this is that the paper tray now sticks out like a sore thumb. It's not aesthetically pleasing in my mind, but it's not too bad.
The next step we'll cover is toner filling. On the front of the printer you can pull down the cover to expose four cartridges.
Replacing the toner is as simple of pulling the old cartridge out and sliding in a fresh one while lining up the tabs to ensure a proper fit.
I don't think it could get any easier than this. It neither takes a lot of force nor time to finish a change. When it comes time to replacing the imaging unit, you simply pull out the entire mechanism that the toners are loaded into.
On the left you can see the space occupied by the imaging unit with toner. The residue is spilled toner that other reviewers used. On the right is the mechanism you remove that holds the four toner cartridges but also contains the imaging unit, seen in green.
Moving onto the physical shell of the printer, the first thing we'll look at is where the paper comes out. The most obvious place is the top and that's exactly where you'll find an indention for the paper to rest in.
If any sheets of paper jam while coming out, the cover for the output is hinged and can be opened to facilitate manual removal.
It's also possible for paper to get jammed between taking sheets from the tray and feeding them to the toner. If this happens, there is access from the back of the printer to pull out any jams.
Just to wrap up the physical aspects of the printer, on the sides there are ventilation holes to cool down the printer during operation, the top has a simple stop button with indications on toner health and the back is where all the power and interface inputs are made.
By simply plugging in power and a USB cable to an AC outlet and a USB port respectively, the printer will power up and you'll be steps away from printing on the new machine. The first thing I did once I connected the printer was to install the drivers provided by Samsung. The driver CD goes through an auto-installation process that minimizes any work required by the owner. Once you pick the language and interface connection, the installation begins itself.
After a few applications and drivers are installed, the installation is complete and you can proceed with a test print.
On the taskbar you will now notice a new icon has appeared. This Samsung icon monitors the health of the printer and allows you can modify some of the settings.
In the above photo we see a bar graph indicating how much toner remains for each cartridge as well as the print totals already done with this printer. You can also adjust the power save times to reduce the energy draw on your house.
Now that the printer has been successfully installed, it's time to move on with some testing.
Page 5 : Performance & Cost Analysis
Over the course of two months, I used the CLP-300 as my daily school printer. One of the first things I noticed was how the prints didn't look as sharp as my SCX-4720F. As a matter of fact, they look more like an inkjet printer with slightly larger runs of text than I would have liked. I've scanned two documents for your comparison. Superimposed is a print job by the CLP-300 and the same job by the SCX-4720F.
The color is both darker and the lines thicker. To some, this print job by the CLP-300 really isn't a big deal. To me, I think it appears slightly less professional.
The color text is quite good. There's no problem identifying the different shades I used for each line.
The most impressive work by the printer is the color photo jobs. For a printer around ~250USD, I think it fares pretty well. You can see some streaks closer to the edge of the page caused from the distribution of the toner. Some would say this is a major issue, others not. I personally think it's good value but there's certainly room for improvement. These streaks remind me of the color print jobs my HP Deskjet did many years ago.
If you're interested in seeing if the printing specifications listed are correct then I got you covered in this next section. I completed a series of print tests to see if the printer actually performs at the listed rated – in short, it does.
The first test print I was was with 10 pages of black text.
I followed up with a document 14 pages in length.
For the color tests, I first took the same approach by printing 10 pages of color text.
I then followed up with 5 pages of color photos, or desktops I downloaded off the internet.
Overall, the specifications are spot-on with my tests. One could argue that the 5 pages of solid color only printed at a rate of 3ppm, but if you ignore the warm up time and just look at the time for the last 4 pages to print, it was exactly 4ppm.
On average, you pick up a black toner cartridge (CLP-K300A) for $30 and that yields 2000 pages giving an average cost of 1.5cents per page. You can also find color cartridges (CLP-C/Y/M300A) for the same price but with a yield of 1000 pages giving an average cost of 3cents per page. The imaging unit for the printer comes as a drum kit (CLP-R300A) for about 100 dollars and it's good for 20,000 pages.
One thing I haven't mentioned earlier and will do so now is the power consumption of the CLP-300. When it's printing, it will draw 350W from the wall. As a word of caution, laser printers should never be plugged into a UPS as it'll suck the life out of it or cause an over-current issue when printing. The idle power consumption is 17 watts.
Page 6 : Conclusion
Overall, the printer has left me with mixed emotions. It's certainly handy to have your own color printer as a student or any home office/business user. Color print jobs are one way to make yourself stand out from the crowd, whether it be for a lab report or a financial report for potential customers.
Priced at around 250 USD on Shopzilla, it's not a very expensive piece of equipment. Replacement toners are relatively affordable but don't hold nearly as much yield as the high-end business printers. However, the high yield printers are often much larger than the Samsung CLP-300 which has a footprint of roughly 40cm by 35cm.
The only downside of the CLP-300 was the print quality. While it's not bad for its price range, I was still disappointed when comparing it to other printers in Samsung's lineup. There's no reason why texts should appear bloated or why images should have light streaks. I'm hoping the new CLP-350N will resolve this issue.
- Low cost
- Small footprint for color laser printer
[list><li]Print quality could be better[/list]
Overclockers Online would like to thank Samsung Canada for making this review possible.