Review: Samsung's CLP-610ND Color Printer

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Although Samsung Electronics America has been making printers as an OEM for other manufacturers for some time, they are usually recognized more as a consumer electronics company. Of late, the company has been increasing its efforts to boost its success in the office printing world -- banking on channel partners to help.

Samsung's CLP-600 series is their most recent high-performance, maximum-efficiency family of printers. The Test Center looked at the new CLP-610ND color laser printer and found it to be a worthy competitor.

Standard specs of the CLP-610ND include: a print speed of 20 pages per minute for A4 (21 ppm letter) in both black and white and color, 128MB of memory (expandable to a max of 384MB), and built-in duplex printing.

At 17 x 17 inches, the CLP-610ND has a moderate footprint, but its height of 16.7 inches is taller than other printers in its class that have recently come through the Test Center lab.

Its boxy appearance won't win the CLP-610ND any beauty awards, but at just over fifty-six pounds, it feels like a solidly built printer, and the smoky gray shell allows it to blend in pretty much anywhere in an office setting. And its street price -- which ranges anywhere from $340 to $400 -- is reasonable given its performance.

For the most part, our test results coincided with Samsung's specifications. When it idled, it consumed 17 watts. When printing, the draw hovered around 450 watts which was in line with the "less than 550w" stated in the manual. Noise levels were harder for our testers to sample as the ambient levels in the lab were above where Samsung rates the printer. In a busy office environment, the sound was not noticeable.
Although a bit slow to warm up, the CLP-610ND is a workhorse once it gets going.

Our tested warm-up time was approximately fifty seconds -- ten seconds longer than the official specs. From Ready mode, it took fifteen seconds for the first sheet to print. This was constant across the board, regardless of whether we were printing single side or duplex and color or monochrome.

During testing, our evaluation unit consistently printed at the same speeds after warm up. Pages made up entirely of black text printed at 21 ppm, while pages of a full-color PowerPoint Presentation printed at the rate of 20 ppm. Our duplex testing resulted in speeds of about 5 ppm (ten prints total) for both color and black and white.

The only real issue testers had was when we printed full-page, photo quality test sheets. In this case, the print rate was approximately four pages in about fifteen seconds, followed by a twenty second pause, and so on. When averaged, this gives it a rate of approximately 8 ppm, which is fine considering the amount of detail involved.

Speaking of detail, the quality of print the CLP-610ND outputs is outstanding. Colors were deep and vibrant, with different shades of the same color easily distinguishable from one another. Lines were sharp too. In one close-up image of a bloodshot eye, the thin red lines are noticeably visible. Additionally, a photo of a chromed knob clearly shows all the objects in the room reflecting off of it. Text was easy to read with a good contrast to the white paper.

Like most other printers, the top of the CLP-610ND did get warm after our tests. Although sides, as well as the front and back, remained at room temperature; the top measured one-hundred and five degrees.
The CLP-610ND supports Windows 2000 and later, various versions of Linux, and Mac OS X 10.3/10.4 and it has connections for Ethernet 10/100 and USB 2.0.

Two different drivers (one black and white, the other color) are available to help system administrators control costs by deploying the color driver only to users with a business need for color printing. With a monthly duty cycle of 65,000 pages, it should easily stand up to a mid-sized company or workgroup's usage.

Samsung printers are available exclusively through the channel.

The bottom line: The CLP-610ND is fine for small businesses or workgroups, at a reasonable price point and from a company where executives say they are working hard to win over resellers. For those factors, we can recommend this printer for VARs looking to fill a targeted need or simply expand their print-vendor line card if they aren't already partnering with Samsung.

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