Tuesday, 27 July 2010 11:20

Review: Samsung CLX-3175FN colour laser printer


The Samsung CLX-3175FN colour laser printer has been designed, apparently, to cater to the home and small business user - it has all the attributes of its bulkier, more expensive brethren but not many of the disadvantages.

The price is right - below $500 Australian - and the form factor is excellent. To have a device that prints in good, clear colour, takes up no more space on your desk than the average b/w laser and also has the option of network connectivity certainly cannot be frowned on.

The printer is black and therefore has the added attraction of being somewhat good-looking. It comes with drivers for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, which is a big plus.

It can print, scan and fax over the network and can also serve a a standalone fax machine or copier. One is restricted to just one size - A4 - but then that suffices for the average punter or small business owner.

But there are some aspects of the 3175FN that leave a bad taste in the mouth. One is the USB connectivity, which is nothing but flaky.

I've installed three of these printers recently and in not a single case would the USB connection work. I ended up using the network connectivity in every case.
Samsung CLX-3175FN
There are reports on the internet that the USB works when the cable between the printer and the computer is not too long, but having tried with everything including a one-metre cable, I gave up. The addition of a powered USB hub did not help either.

The cost of toner cartridges is another disadvantage - but that has to be put down to the greedy retailers in Australia. Going by the price in overseas markets, one should be able to get a set of replacement cartridges - black, cyan, magenta and yellow - for about $200 Australian.

And that isn't too bad when one considers that, with the standard five percent coverage, one can get 1000 colour prints from that set of cartridges.

But that doesn't work out in reality - the price is $275 Australian and that makes it rather prohibitive.

On power consumption, too, the CLX-3175FN doesn't add up and anyone who does buy it would be well served by not having it running round the clock. Your power bill may prove a surprise if you do.

The printer has a nice web interface and a good many options can be configured. Pity that a rather silly option - to disconnect the printer from the network if it is idle for 30 second - has been set as the default.
Samsung CLX-3175FN
These disadvantages apart, the CLX-3175FN is a good buy. Every bit of hardware has its pros and cons and this is no exception; Samsung would do well to iron out the kinks in the USB connectivity and also try to bring down the price of the replacement cartridges.



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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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