If you need a printer to share between multiple users, Samsung's ML-3310ND could be a good option. It's an A4, black-and-white laser printer that offers both Ethernet and USB connectivity, so you can either connect it directly to a single PC or plug it into your network so that all the computers in your home can access it. The ML-3310ND costs around £160 online.
Decked out in a boring two-tone grey colour scheme, the ML-3310ND isn't much to look at. On the plus side, it should be equally at home in an office as in a large household. Measuring 366 by 368 by 253mm, it's small enough to sit on the edge of an office desk.
The paper feeder at the base of the printer can hold up to 250 sheets of A4 paper. There's also an optional secondary tray that can hold 520 pages. Above the standard paper feeder, there's a flip-down multi-purpose 50-page tray that can also be used for manually feeding in envelopes. Prints are dropped into a recessed area at the top of the printer that can hold up to 150 sheets at one time.
The ML-3310ND hooks up to your computer in two ways. The most straightforward option is to simply connect it directly to a single PC via USB. Alternatively, you can connect it directly into your network, which is what you're paying extra for with this model.
Setting up the printer to work via USB couldn't be simpler. Just load the driver onto your computer, connect a USB cable, and the job's done.
Hooking the ML-3310ND up to your network is slightly more difficult. The printer is configured to automatically grab its IP address from your network's DHCP server, but this means its address can change every time it's switched off and on, so you'll have to make your PC find it again. It's better to give the printer a fixed IP address, but setting this up is a rather convoluted process. Still, you only have to do it once.
The ML-3310ND also has an HTTP server built in, so, once it's connected to your network, you can log onto it using your computer's Web browser to view the toner level and so on.
Pretty much all of the printer's functions can be configured using the front panel. This consists of a two-line LCD display that you navigate around using a circular four-way pad. The menus are easy enough to follow, but navigation can be something of a pain, as there's little room available on the display. We found it was better to use the PC software that gets installed along with the printer driver -- it's much easier to use.
Prints of darkness
The print engine has a maximum resolution of 1,200x1,200 dpi, but it defaults to 600x600 dpi, which is good enough for most day-to-day documents. It can also handle two-sided printing, a feature accessed via the eco menu.
Samsung quotes a print speed of 31 pages per minute. In our test, the ML-3310ND managed to print our ten-page black-text document in 35 seconds, and took 37 seconds to print ten copies of our graphics test page. Our ten-sheet presentation document took longer, at 41 seconds, but these are still very fast print speeds.
The ML-3310ND's high-yield toner cartridge, which produces around 5,000 pages, costs £89.18 from Oyyy.co.uk at the time of writing. With costs of 0.7p added for each sheet of paper, this works out at a running cost of 2.48p per page, which is quite low.
We've no complaints about the quality of the ML-3310ND's text output. Text looks dark and smooth, with crisp edges, giving a very professional finish to your pages. The graphics output is also very good, although, like many laser printers, we could see some slight banding in fills on grey bars in our test document.
The Samsung ML-3310ND is a fine printer. It produces good, clean text and graphics, offers fast print speeds and is fairly economical to run. Its control panel could be better, though, and setting it up on a network is likely to prove tricky for those of a less technical bent.
Edited by Charles Kloet