* Prices may differ from that shown
If you could get a laser-based personal AIO for less than the price of most personal lasers, would you be willing to give up a little print speed in exchange for the scanner and copier functions? Samsung is betting that for a lot of people that answer is yes, and the company is out to prove it with the Samsung SCX-4100 Digital Productivity Center ($200 street).
The SCX-4100 AIO measures 9.4 by 16.6 by 15.8 inches (HWD) and weighs just 21.1 pounds, which makes it smaller and lighter than some personal lasers, as well as less expensive. The 15-ppm engine is slow by today's standards, but promises reasonable speed for personal use. Similarly, its 600- by 600-dpi maximum resolution—for copying as well as printing—is a little lower than many printers have, but high enough to expect reasonably good-looking output.
On our tests (using QualityLogic's testing software and equipment, www.qualitylogic.com), the SCX-4100 lived up to expectations, with acceptable, though less than impressive, speeds. Its total time on our business-applications suite was slower than those of similarly priced personal lasers without the AIO functions, at 14 minutes 11 seconds. The personal lasers had engine speeds of 17 to 29 ppm and have scored from 7:42 to 9:55 on the business applications suite.
The SCX-4100's output quality is a redeeming factor. Text output was just short of excellent, with most fonts easily readable at 5 points or smaller, and none requiring anything larger than 8 points for easy readability. Graphics and photo quality were just short of good, which are respectable scores for a monochrome laser. The main issue in both cases was visible dithering patterns. Copying and scanning features work as promised, with copying available only from the unit's front panel.
We'd like the SCX-4100 more if it had an ADF and a built-in fax modem. But adding either or both features—particularly the ADF—would increase the price significantly. At the very least, we'd like to see a bundled fax program, so you could scan documents on the flatbed and fax using your computer's fax modem, but you can buy fax programs separately. If copying and scanning one page at a time is sufficient for your needs and you're willing to buy a separate fax program if you need one, the SCX-4100 will be hard to beat.