capsule review

Samsung CLP-660ND Color Laser Printer

At a Glance
  • Samsung CLP-660ND

    PCWorld Rating

    The CLP-660ND offers decent speed and design, but its grainy graphics aren't for the art crowd.

Samsung's CLP-660ND color laser printer has a lot of competition in its price range. While it's a decent printer in most respects, its subpar graphics quality dampens our overall enthusiasm for it.

The CLP-660ND achieved an adequate speed of 19.8 pages per minute (ppm) while printing text in our tests. Its top speed printing graphics was an underwhelming 2.9 ppm. Text quality was excellent, the letterforms appearing deep black and delicately drawn. Unfortunately, graphics samples of all kinds fell victim to noticeable moiré patterns and graininess. Glossy laser paper did not improve matters much.

The design of the CLP-660ND has its awkward aspects. Extending the 250-sheet input tray to hold legal-size paper involves a difficult pinch-and-yank process. The handle for opening the 100-sheet multipurpose tray is hard to distinguish from the front-panel handle located in the same place. Oddly, the front panel opens just a small amount at first pull; you must tug it a second time, a little harder, to open it completely. The 200-sheet output tray exits to the far rear, which could be hard to reach for some people. A 500-sheet input tray option is available.

The control panel is simple for the most part. You navigate menus on the two-line monochrome LCD using a brief array of clearly labeled buttons. Some of the messages displayed could resemble normal language more closely, but most are understandable. Samsung's SmartPanel Monitor application picks up the slack by providing on-screen status, troubleshooting, and other useful information.

The machine ships with standard-yield, 2500-page black and 2000-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges. The high-yield versions we priced are still a little expensive: A 5500-page black cartridge costs $110, or 2 cents per page, while each 5000-page color cartridge costs $130, or 2.6 cents per color, per page.

Though installing the printer started with one of those potentially daunting, wordless posters, the process went smoothly. The PDF user guide offers plenty of operational guidance but not much on the driver or software. When we tried using Samsung's own driver for the printer, it stalled on our Photoshop tests because of a mysteriously absent .dll file; we ended up testing it using the PostScript driver instead. At press time, Samsung said it had resolved the driver issue but had not confirmed a date for making the fix publicly available.

The better-than-average reliability mark that readers gave to Samsung printer products in our Reliability and Service survey buoys the ranking of an otherwise run-of-the mill printer. Its struggles with graphics quality, so if you buy it, you should probably stick to pie charts and other simple, ordinary image types.

--Melissa Riofrio

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The CLP-660ND offers decent speed and design, but its grainy graphics aren't for the art crowd.

    Pros

    • Excellent text quality
    • Good reliability

    Cons

    • Inferior graphics quality
    • Expensive toner
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