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As a student, I rely on having a good printer as I often need to print out my essays, notes, lecture slides, articles etc. I have been staying at my parents' house this academic year, so I have had a lot of chance to put their printer to the test. My parents also use the printer very heavily as they are self-employed and working from home, having to print a large amount of customer order details per day.
The ML 1640 is a laser printer which Samsung say is "sleek, yet manages big jobs".
=== Appearance ====
The appearance of the printer is not particularly sleek in my opinion, as it is actually quite large and bulky. It is roughly cube shaped, with the paper tray sticking out a bit further at the front, and takes up a larger surface area than many other home printers, so it is not ideal for someone who is very short on space. It has a matte black finish with Samsung on the front and there is nothing flashy at all about how it looks. Personally I am not particularly bothered about the appearance of the printer and neither were my parents when they bought it. They have a shelf above the computer where it fits, so the size issue is not a real negative in our house.
=== Use ===
The printer is very easy to use. It can be attached to the computer by USB cable and is recognised automatically, so there is no need to mess about installing anything.The power button is at the back in a position which is not immediately obvious if you are using the printer for the first time as it is quite hidden, but it is accessible and easy to reach once you know where it is. The printer shows a steady light when it is on and ready for printing. A red light alerts you to problems such as lack of paper or any paper jams. You can clearly see how much paper is left, as the tray is external and not in a pull out drawer as with some other printers.
=== Positives ===
Most of the time this printer is reliable. It prints quite quickly. It prints clearly and to a perfectly decent standard without any streaking or smudging. We use it a lot every day so it does get subjected to a lot more work than the average household printer and although it has occasional problems (see below), most of the time it does the job.
We get through ink cartridges fairly quickly but you can get a lot of pages from each one. If you shake the cartridge when pages start coming out a bit faded, you can usually get a lot more from it. I can't really comment on the price of cartridge replacements as my dad pays for them in bulk and I don't know the details but he did take into account ink costs when buying the printer and says the ink for this is reasonable.
=== Negatives ===
I have noticed a few negatives with this printer. Firstly, it is very loud. This is not a huge problem, but it is much louder than you would expect for a household printer!
Secondly, and much more annoyingly, sometimes the printer has difficulties when picking up the paper. Quite a few times recently I have had problems with the printer trying to take too many sheets of paper at once, which results in jams and crumpled paper being stuck inside the printer, which can obviously get very frustrating. My dad keeps telling me that I have to send my documents to print one page at a time and feed each piece of paper individually into the printer to prevent this problem, but as you can imagine that gets very tedious and it shouldn't be necessary!
On the whole I am fairly satisfied with the printer as it is usually up to the task, but I wouldn't particularly recommend it ahead of any other printer because I have had a few problems. I would say it is okay but nothing special.
When replacing our ancient inkjet printer that finally stopped working a couple of years ago we looked into other inkjet printers. However the high cost of replacing the ink, even using non branded and refilled cartridges and reported reliability problems with lots of models led us to consider a laser printer. We chose the Samsung ML 1640 and have been extreamly pleased with this decision.
Most of the time we need a printer for typical home uses ie. printing off a page or two every so often. However, we are also administrators for a small charity and so have larger print runs a few times a year.
The printer cost around £60 and comes with a toner cartridge. This is not a full sized one so will not last as long as subsequent ones you buy for it. The toner cartridges are expensive at around £30, but do last for many many copies and need replacing much less often than inkjet cartridges. We have only had to replace it once since we have had it. I estimate you could get over 1000 copies from a toner cartridge.
The printer is situated sideways on a side table by the computer, so the on off switch on the back is easily accessible, otherwise it could be a bit hard to reach. Once switched on it is ready for action quickly. The first page prints in a few seconds, much quicker than an inkjet printer. Subsequent copies are then much quicker making quick work of larger print runs.
Print quality is excellent. It was easy to tell when to replace the toner without the long tailing off of quality that inkjet printers can give.
The printer looks quite unremarkable, being basically a black cuboid. You could say it is a bit ugly but then do people really care what their printer looks like? It has a fold down paper tray that it is easy to feed paper into straight, and a fold out paper holder to hold the copies.
A curious thing about the printer is that when it is printing it appears as if fine smoke is coming from it, I don't think this is anything to worry about as I assume that it is the toner rather than an internal fire but I suppose this could be worrying to some people! The only real downside I can think of is that when printing a large number of copies when they come out they are warm and so a bit curled up which means that they don't sit flat in the out tray, so you might want to pick them off to stop them falling off, but this is only a minor consideration.
This printer only prints in black and white as colour laser printers are much more expensive. If you think that economical printing is more important to you than having colour then I would urge you to consider a laser printer. When we bought this model it was one of the cheapest laser printers available, and had good reviews. It has been an extreamly good decision for us and has saved us lots of money on printing costs. Another thing to consider though if you don't print very often is that toner can 'go off' if not used up so it might not be worth considering for light users.