The price for colour laser printers start at around £150, but climb rapidly in price as you move from the soho to the workgroup markets. What you get is faster printing speed, paper handling flexibility and the capability to manage higher workloads. The Samsung CLP-770ND is on the menu when you reach the £500 to £600 price range, reduced from its very silly initial price of £1,449.
This machine is monolithic, having a massive, square-cut case, chamfered off at the front to give way for the control panel plus a 500 sheet paper tray together with a fold down 100 sheet multipurpose tray. When you use the multipurpose tray a slot is opened at the front of the printer to allow paper to feed through.
It is also possible to fit two further 500 sheet paper trays bringing the total capacity up to 1,600 sheets.. Printed paper comes out at the top of the machine, but despite its large size you will still need to raise a support flap to prevent the pages from falling off the back
The control panel has a backlit LCD which displays various messages. The display is fully bitmapped, so can show graphics as well as text. There are two buttons placed alongside the screen, the select menu options and back up the menu tree, and there’s a four-way ring of navigation buttons with a big OK button in the centre. At the right of this are the Cancel and Power buttons.
At the rear of the right-hand side of the machine are sockets for USB and Ethernet, which isn’t as good a place to put them as the back would have been.
Hardware setup is straightforward, all you have to do is install the four toner cartridges. The transfer belt engages in the front cover of the printer while the fuser can be reached via a smaller cover on the top.
Once it hit the 20 -page marker on a black text test, the print speed also rise to 23.5ppm, but still a bit short of the claimed speed. Printing duplex, which is a standard option, was comparatively quick, with the same 20-side document printing on 10 sheets in 1:31, a speed of 13.19 sides per minute.
The results looked very outstanding, the black text were well-formed with no visible signs of rough edges or toner spatter to distract from a high contrast black and white document. Colour business graphics also proved to be very good, with strong vibrant colours and clear black text. Photos printed at a resolution of 9,600 x 600dpi were also very satisfactory with plenty of detail and accurate colour reproduction. There is detail in darker, shadowed areas, which many lasers don’t pick up, plus a wider colour gamut compared to most of its competition.
There are two consumables to consider in the CLP-770ND: the four drum and toner cartridges, these will do up to 7,000 pages each (although the machine comes with 3,500-page starter cartridges) and a 50,000-page transfer belt. Totalling these costs results in page costs of 2.13p for black and white and 7.33p for colour. Both these numbers are pretty decent, for comparison, the costs for running the £412 canon lbp7200cdn coming out at 4.86p and 19.14p. Although you can get low operating costs, most of these come from printers with a much higher selling price. A 7,000 page cartridge for £75 is a good price, nowadays.
This great and reliable colour laser printer would definitely suit well on busy environments, particularly on large workgroups or small departments, yet there’s not a lot to look forward to. It isn’t that rapid or filled with the latest innovations. It lacks a USB port on the front panel, or password-protected, walk-up print capability.
However, perhaps more importantly, it did deliver in what many would consider to be the most important areas for a printer. It delivers high quality prints, from straight black text through to full-colour photos, that most lasers have a problem with and also the printing costs is low considering its listed price.. Overall, you get your every penny’s worth with this £570 colour heavyweight.