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I have mixed feelings about this product. Samsung are one of the few manufacturers which make a wireless colour laser printer, and one which is at an affordable price. I'd previously had an HP MFP Colour Laser, but the toners had got so expensive, it was cheaper to replace the machine itself.
In a nutshell, the Samsung CLP-325W works wirelessly through your router. It's only function is either b/w or colour laser printing (i.e. no scanner etc.). I purchased it on Amazon for about £150, and as there was a cashback offer, Samsung sent me £50 which in the end made it very cheap. It comes pre-loaded with toner, though I think that these have probably been sitting about for a long time.
The machine boasts a plug-and-go setup procedure. This is far from the case. In total, it took me over a month to get it fully up and running wirelessly. The instructions which come with it are very sparse. They give instructions on the basis that everyone has the same router and wireless setup which simply isn't the case. I have to say that initially, it worked first time. Sadly, the next day, the wireless would no longer connect. I contacted Samsung who sent a list of instructions, and after much fiddling with router and internet settings, it worked again. 10 days later, the wireless connection cut out again. More instructions from Samsung, and once again, up and running. Fingers crossed, I haven't had any trouble since...
The print quality seems poor, but that may well be because I'm using a multi-purpose paper rather than laser paper which is seems to require. When first switching it on in the morning, it takes about 5 minutes to settle down and connect to the wireless, but after that, it stays on until you switch the machine off again. Once up and running, it prints quickly. It currently prints from 3 different laptops on three floors of the house (printer on the middle floor) without problem.
Overall, once up and running, it's a decent machine. The promise of a plug-and-use setup is nonsense (unless you have the same internet setup as them presumably!). I was all for sending it back, but credit to Samsung they did promtly explain how to rectify the various problems. I've knocked off two stars as the setup procedure overall was ridiculous and time-consuming!
Now if you've read any of my technology reviews in the past you'll know I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to installing and often using technology. Give me a mobile phone and I'm an absolute whizz (even if I do say so myself) but give me a DVD player or a printer and I might as well be looking at a Japanese book for all the sense the instructions often make to me! I've managed to survive for the past year at home without a printer, and it's probably a blessing that this is the case as I'd no doubt have broken it by now. However I did recently have to purchase a new one for my classroom at school after the rather archaic printer from 1999 finally gave up and managed to not only jam about six pieces of paper in succession but also to make a very strange whirring sound every time I so much as looked at it!
I was given a rather appealing looking budget of £200 to spend and decided to make a start on Amazon, I think I probably lasted about seven minutes before I got sidetracked looking for Christmas presents! I decided to opt for the same printer that another teacher had at the school as they promised me faithfully that it was both easy to install and to use. I ended up purchasing the Samsung CLP 325W after a further two minutes of browsing... and who says girls can't shop quickly! The printer arrived later that week in a rather large box which immediately made me panic... the box looked big enough to contain an awful lot of cables and wires! In fact inside was the actual printer, an electronic instructions manual (this was a complete challenge in itself), a power cable, a quick install guide and a CD ROM to help install.
The printer itself is very smart looking and a massive improvement on my previous 1999 model which was a lovely beige colour. The Samsung CLP 325W is black in colour with a black and grey tray on top, along with a small electronic display window on top too. The printer is quite large compared to some I've seen, it's approximately 52.5cm by 44.8cm by 35.3cm and it weighs 11kg once it is out of the box. It does look much larger than my older printer and it wouldn't probably be one that you'd buy for a very small office or to obtain a minimal effect! After browsing the instructions I felt mildly better, it assured me that the "One Touch Wi-Fi Setting makes connecting to your Wi-Fi a breeze" and that there were "No manual configurations or complicated pass codes." I was going to be just fine setting this up!
Sadly I still managed to get into a bit of a state although for most people this would be a really easy job. The whole process took me about half an hour; I spent about five minutes messing around and then put the CD ROM on my computer which made the whole process incredibly straightforward. It gave simple step by step instructions that were really easy to follow and there was a help and trouble shooting guide available throughout the process (which I did refer to)! The printer took about a minute to warm up when it was first switched on, this seems to be quite standard with larger printers I've found. Once it was warmed up it was ready to go and I managed to print a test page within about ten minutes of opening the CD ROM... so this printer really is suitable for a complete technophobe... I am living proof!
I even managed to set up the wireless feature which means that there are no more cables needed, apart from the power cable, and means that I can print effortlessly from my laptop on the other side of the room to the printer. This was achieved by pressing a button on the router and one on the printer and it automatically connected... amazing! Normally you'd have to set up a wireless network name (according to the manual) and then enter a security key or password but luckily this minor disaster was avoided. It's ideal as there are no cables to trip over which is perfect when being used in a classroom, the children have all been able to link their laptops up as well which makes printing an absolute breeze now. You just need to make sure you're connected to the same wireless internet network to achieve this.
There are plenty of extras that I'm still getting used to using with this printer too, the Any Web software that came on the CD ROM means you can have a window open on your computer while on any other program and merely drag and drop anything onto the Any Web screen that you want to print. You can then print the screen view by pressing one single button which is really helpful I think. The printing quality is superb, apparently it offers 2,400 x 600 dpi resolution which doesn't mean a lot to me but I can tell you that the colours are crisp, the lines are perfectly defined and the quality is excellent - even when printing out photos. The other feature that I like is the power saving button on the control panel, this puts it into a low energy state and you can just press it again when you're ready to print!
As I've already mentioned the printer's quality is excellent but there's also something else that makes this stand out and that's the fact that it prints so quietly. When I first started using the printer I would send something to print from my laptop and then have to get up a minute later to check it had printed as I hadn't heard any noise! Apparently it's been engineered to be whisper quiet and generates a noise level of just 45 DBA which is less than the hum of a refrigerator according to the internet! It also prints really quickly; I'd say it averages about ten pages per minute when printing in good quality colour. If you're interested in the technical information then it has a 130 sheet paper capacity and a 360MHx Processor, any further information can be found on any website advertising this product.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend the Samsung CLP 325W, it's a chic and elegant looking model that delivers great printing quality. I found it easy to install and easy to use, even the children in my class can easily switch it on and print their work without any hassle at all. I bought mine on Amazon for £144.70 which does seem to be roughly the cheapest price online that I've come across. So if you're looking for a new printer this Christmas then I would certainly suggest considering this little gem... although it won't be easy to fit in a Christmas stocking! A full five stars from me, I did almost take one off due to the size of it but to be honest the size isn't really an issue for me and a smaller one would probably have been knocked off by one of my kids! A first class product from Samsung!
Thanks for reading.