At a Glance
Canon PIXMA iP1700 Photo Printer
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Produced attractive put slightly pale text. Though lightweight and compact, this model feels sturdy.
The entry-level, $150 Samsung ML-2010 displays the company's distinctive, smooth plastic styling. When not in use, it's an attractive, compact white box. To prepare it for action, you must fold down the tray at the front and then slide in up to 150 sheets of paper. The printer accommodates a variety of paper sizes, including letter and legal. Samsung provides a translucent plastic cover to protect the paper supply from dust. You feed thicker media, such as envelopes, one at a time through the manual slot just above the standard tray. Printed sheets emerge face down in the bin atop the printer, which can hold up to 100 pages. Unlike the pricier Samsung ML-2250, which we reviewed in October 2004, this model doesn't have a straight-through paper path to protect envelopes from creasing, nor is it upgradable with extra paper trays.
In keeping with the unit's minimalist design, the ML-2010's control panel consists of two lights and a cancel button. You control most functions from the printer driver. Rendering pages directly from the Windows GDI layer, your PC supplies the processing power. Samsung also supplies software to let the ML-2010 work with Apple Macs.
In our tests, the lines of the text printed on the ML-2010 looked thinner and less substantial than usual, even though most characters looked sharp. The closely spaced bold font that has posed problems for so many printers appeared crisp and distinct. Only the finest lettering, such as italics, showed some jagged edges. Line art came out sharp and precise, with just a little narrow horizontal banding in blocks of close parallel lines. The ML-2010's print of our grayscale photo was a pleasant change from the output of other printers we've tested recently: Smooth tones, attractive contrast, and ample detail in shadows and highlights impressed our jurors, though profuse narrow horizontal banding and some weird moire patterns prevented it from receiving a high score.
The ML-2010's print speeds are about average for a small-office laser. A long wait for the first page cut into the overall text printing speed, but the PC World Test Center clocked good graphics speeds in our tests. Samsung rates its replacement toner cartridges to yield 3000 pages at a cost of $80 per cartridge, yielding a cost per page of 2.7 cents. That's around average for a small-office printer. The printer comes boxed with a starter cartridge that generates only 1000 pages, however.
The affordably priced Samsung ML-2010 looks attractive and delivers adequate print quality for most small-office tasks.