capsule review

Samsung CLP-300N

At a Glance
  • Samsung CLP-300N Laser Printer (17 PPM, 2400x600 DPI, Color, 64M, PC/Mac/Linux)

    PCWorld Rating

    The CLP-300N won't thrill anyone with its unexceptional print quality, but it's small and inexepensive.

It's hard to imagine a color laser printer having dimesions any smaller than the Samsung CLP-300N's 15.4 by 13.5 by 10.4 inches (width by depth by height). At just $350 (as of March 7, 2007), the CLP-300N is also one of the cheapest color lasers we've seen to date, though its consumables costs are high and its print quality is not impressive.

At this size, there's not much room for paper. The CLP-300N has a single paper tray that can hold 150 sheets of plain paper. The output bin holds up to 100 sheets. You can feed envelopes from the paper tray one at a time, after removing the other paper. No duplexer and no add-on paper tray upgrades are available. The simple control panel features just five lights and a stop button.

The estimated cost per page for this printer is 3.7 cents for a black-and-white page and 19 cents for a color page. Rated for just 1000 pages, the three color toners cost $50 apiece. The larger black cartridge should produce 2000 pages and is priced at $60. In addition you must change the $100 imaging unit every 20,000 black-and-white or 12,500 color pages--a more complex task. Finally, the $10 waste toner container requires replacement every 5000 black-and-white or 1250 color pages. The one-year warranty doesn't cover the imaging unit or the waste toner container. On a positive note, the toner comes in four cylindrical cartridges that twist easily into and out of position in the printer, so replacing cartridges is a snap.

This GDI-based printer leaves page rendering to your PC's processor. Text prints at 17.7 pages per minute, whereas photos print on plain paper at 2.4 ppm and glossy paper at 1.6 ppm.

Our panel of judges found the CLP-300N's text output too dark and noticed major bleeding in bold fonts. The test print also had a semiglossy sheen that struck some people as attractive but others as distracting. Our line art sample came out too dark, as well, with close lines merging and with some banding. Our grayscale image displayed rainbow effects in areas of smooth tonal change, such as the sky. On plain paper, our color images looked grainy and too light; colors printed on glossy paper seemed washed out, with unsubtle black ink layered over them.

If space is at a premium in your office and you aren't too concerned about print quality or page costs, the Samsung CLP-300N makes an easy-to-use, no-nonsense color printer.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The CLP-300N won't thrill anyone with its unexceptional print quality, but it's small and inexepensive.

    Pros

    • Very small footprint.
    • Easy toner replacement.

    Cons

    • Low print quality
    • High toner costs.
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