Samsung's ML-3710ND is a no-nonsense monochrome laser printer that can be easily shared among different computers thanks to its Ethernet port. Essentially, it's a faster version of the ML-3310ND, which we looked at recently. You can buy it online for around £200.
Quite the eyesore
Like many laser printers, this model isn't exactly a joy to behold. Its two-tone, grey exterior looks very business-like. Samsung has added a ridged pattern to the front and sides, but, overall, it's not an inspiring design.
The control panel is mounted on the top right-hand side of the printer and consists of a two-line, 16-character monochrome display with a circular control pad sitting beneath it. This is joined by a dedicated eco button, along with a stop button and the power button. Beneath the power button, there's an error LED that flashes to signal problems such as an empty paper tray or low toner levels.
The main paper tray is housed at the bottom of the printer and can hold up to 250 sheets at a time, which is fairly generous. Above this, there's a fold-down multi-purpose tray that can hold an additional 50 sheets of paper, although it's more likely to be used for printing envelopes and the like. There's also an option to add an additional tray with a further 520-sheet capacity, if your printing needs are particularly demanding.
The ML-3710ND can be connected to your computer via USB or its Ethernet port. Sadly, Wi-Fi isn't supported.
The printer comes with its cartridge pre-installed, so there's very little setting up required. Basically, you just take the printer out of its box, add some paper to the tray, install the drivers on your PC and you're ready to start printing.
The eco button on the front acts as a switch that's used to turn on and off a number of different eco-friendly settings, which you can configure via the control panel. For example, you can tell the printer to always print in duplex mode, print two pages per sheet or activate the toner-save mode. The driver also gives you a handy indication of the amount of paper, electricity and CO2 you'll save by using the various options you select.
By default, there's 128MB of RAM on-board. This can be expanded to 384MB if required. The benefit of adding more RAM is that the printer will be able to process pages faster before actually printing them, which can cut down significantly on the time taken to complete print jobs.
Even with the basic amount of RAM, this is a fast printer. For example, it pumped out our ten-page black and white text document in just 30 seconds, and took a mere 31 seconds to produce ten pages of our black and white graphics document. Printing our ten-page presentation was even faster, at a lightning-quick 29 seconds. The duplex mode isn't as speedy, however -- it took 50 seconds to produce five double-sided pages of text.
Despite the generally rapid printing pace, the quality of the output isn't compromised. The print engine has an effective resolution of 1,200dpi, and text is well drawn, extremely sharp and very clean. It looks heavy too, without appearing artificially darkened. Similarly, our graphics test sheet displayed smooth shading on the grey bars, with no sign of the banding that can creep in on the output of some laser printers. Even greyscale renderings of photos retained plenty of subtle detail.
When it comes to replacing the toner cartridge, there are three options to choose from, with each offering a different capacity -- 2,000, 5,000 or 10,000 pages. Using the lowest-capacity option, print costs work out at 3.25p per page. With the middle option, costs are 2.37p per page, while the high-capacity version results in costs of 1.96p per page. All these figures include 0.7p for paper costs. With the two higher-capacity cartridges, print costs are quite low, even by laser standards.
If you're seeking a printer to pump out high-quality, black and white pages at a rapid pace and with low running costs, then the Samsung ML-3710ND is a great choice. It's no looker, but its compact size means it won't take up too much space.
Edited by Charles Kloet