Samsung CLP-315 colour laser

Colour laser printing doesn't have to mean big, bulky workgroup printers. Enter the CLP-315 - the world's smallest colour laser.

Print quality is generally good, with black text coming out crisp and dense. Colour graphics are also intense, sometimes a bit too bright, and black text over colour backgrounds sometimes lacks complete registration, but for a machine at this price point there's not much to complain about, to the naked eye. Even photographic prints, while a little limited in colour gamut, are passable for typical internal documents.

Samsung makes a lot of the quiet printing of the CLP-315, claiming a noise level of less than 45dBA and in use we wouldn't argue with that. This machine is very quiet when printing, partly because it doesn't print at great speed, but it's quite easy to take a phone call while the machine is printing a document on the desk beside you.

The CLP-315 is definitely designed as a personal printer, and the colour cartridges have a capacity of only 1,000 pages each, though the black cartridge offers 1,500 pages. You will also need to replace the waste bottle every 5,000 pages and the drum and fuser unit every 24,000 pages, so they can't really be considered lifetime components.

With the prices we could find on the internet, page costs come out at just over 2p for an ISO black page and around 9.3p for a colour one. Both these costs are quite high, but then there are very few colour laser printers in this price range, to compare the Samsung machine with.

As technologies advance, all types of printer tend to decrease in size and cost. Samsung's CLP-315 is something of a landmark, though, as it is a lot smaller and a lot cheaper than recent colour lasers. While it's unlikely mono laser printers will die out any time soon, if the trend to sell colour machines at lower and lower prices continues, many purchase decisions will be made on the basis that you might as well have colour, as it costs little extra.

Verdict

This very small colour laser is quiet when printing, easy to maintain and cheap to buy. TCO isn’t so good, though, as the low capacity consumables are relatively expensive. It’s also slow to print, struggling to reach 4ppm in colour. For occasional use, though, neither of these factors need be damning.

Resolution: 2,400 x 600dpi, 17ppm A4 colour printer Dimensions: 388 x 313 x 243mm Paper handling: 150-sheet paper tray, no multi-purpose feed Duty Cycle: 20,000 pages Connectivity: USB 2.0, (Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi option) Software: Smart Panel monitor plus drivers

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