capsule review

Samsung ML-2551N

At a Glance
  • Samsung ML-2551N Laser Printer

Samsung ML-2551N
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The $600 Samsung ML-2551N is a functional-looking gray box that has plenty of features for its price. You can hook it up to a network with its built-in ethernet interface or direct to a PC via its USB 2.0 port. An optional 802.11b wireless LAN adapter costs $300.

The printer has a 500-sheet drawer and a sturdy 100-sheet auxiliary tray. Busy workgroups can add a second 500-sheet feeder for $208. Up to 250 printed sheets collect face-down in the tray atop the printer, or you can fold down the rear output tray and let 100 pages collect face-up there--this also provides a straight-through path for relatively rigid media. Most impressively, the ML-2551N has a built-in duplexer to let you print automatically on both sides of the paper.

When we put the ML-2551N through its paces, text pages printed at 10.5 pages per minute--the most leisurely speed we saw among workgroup models in our November 2004 comparison. And it printed graphics at a somnambulatory 4.1 ppm. Print quality was good across the board, with smooth diagonal lines, solid black text in large fonts, and nicely graduated skin tones in our test photograph. Very fine type lacked sharpness, however, and we noticed significant banding in our photo test.

Setting up the printer on our network was a pain. The installation manual would have sufficed for connecting the printer to a single PC through its USB or parallel port, but there were no instructions relevant to our network setup. A second manual detailed how to install the SyncThru software but didn't explain its purpose or how to use it. We installed it, but remained confused. Though the User's Guide included as a PDF document on CD-ROM says that SyncThru can be used for network setup, it gives the procedure for setting network parameters via the control panel--which is what we ended up doing.

One aspect of this printer's design that we did like was its front control panel, which was easy to use. The backlit LCD was a nice touch, too, letting you navigate the printer's menus in low lighting conditions.

A low price and two-sided printing are this workgroup laser's main attractions.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • Samsung ML-2551N Laser Printer

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