capsule review

Samsung CLP-500

At a Glance
  • Samsung CLP-500 21PPM 1200 DPI 266MHZ 16MB GDI PARALLEL & USB (Samsung-CLP500XAA)

Samsung CLP-500
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Samsung's CLP-500 costs only $699, cheap enough to put a color laser in your home office. But to put the printer on a network, PC World added the optional ethernet interface, which boosts the price to $850. Samsung stocks the CLP-500 with a 250-sheet main tray and a 100-sheet auxiliary tray, a more-than-adequate 64MB of memory, and a built-in duplexer as standard equipment. You can boost paper capacity with a 500-sheet feeder for $300. Toner costs run 13 cents per color page, based on our page-yield test--average for the printers in our test group.

In PC World's performance tests, the CLP-500 printed text at 15.3 pages per minute and graphics at 3.2 ppm--plenty fast for an individual user or very small workgroup. The CLP-500 printed text with a slightly shadowy look that we didn't care for; on printouts of color graphics, it reproduced color and detail fairly well, though some streaking and hatching was evident. But gray-scale photos looked unpleasantly dark and coarse, and line art showed very rough edges.

The CLP-500's gray shell has sleek beveled lines, but its mechanical design leaves room for improvement. For one thing, the printer's front door is secured by two latches that pop open too easily; and when open, the door reveals only dual sumps for excess toner, instead of providing access to the paper path. When you open the left-side door, all four toner cartridges slide out of their racks, and the lid lifts up on hinges to expose the imaging drum. But despite all those openings, much of the paper path remains concealed, so clearing jams could be tricky. We weren't thrilled with the CLP-500's control-panel menus either, though we figured them out quickly enough. The menus display only one level at a time, so we felt like we were crawling blindly sideways along them and had to guess when to jump up or down a level. Also, the LCD lacks backlighting; the setup guide doesn't explain clearly how to install the drivers; and the normal Windows installation process wanted to connect over a parallel port--it took a few lucky guesses to get the PC and printer to communicate.

Once the printer is running, a 250-page on-screen manual provides excellent information on using the control panel and driver, maintaining the printer, and connecting to a network if you selected the ethernet option. The printer operated very quietly, too.

With the CLP-500 you get good paper handling and performance for a home-office printer price.

Samsung CLP-500


Buying Information: Samsung CLP-500 Rated 21 ppm text/5 ppm color laser. 64MB RAM standard, 1200-by-600-dpi maximum resolution, 350 sheets input, 250 output.
$699
800/726-7864
www.samsung.com

Dan Littman

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Samsung CLP-500 21PPM 1200 DPI 266MHZ 16MB GDI PARALLEL & USB (Samsung-CLP500XAA)

Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.