Review: Samsung CLP-315 color laser printer

Ask any geek of a certain age and predilection what they dreamt of back in high school and they’ll say, in order, a date to the prom and a color laser printer. Now that everyone with $100 and a pulse can get a fairly nice inkjet printer, Samsung is offering the CLP-315, a $184 color laser printer that is about as big as a standard all-in-one printer but with the added benefit of printing at high speeds and in vibrant color.

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If you think laser printers are huge behemoths hulking in the corner of an office, think again. The CLP-315 is 24 pounds and about 12 inches on a side. It holds 150 sheets of paper and is compatible with OS X and Windows and can be added as a network printer. The OS X driver required a full shutdown of every application on the installation machine – something I find amazingly aggravating – and, as usual, there’s no goddamn USB cable. This is the biggest pet peeve I have about printers. Seriously. Don’t up-sell us on a $5 cable, printer manufacturers. Sheesh. Sorry. I fell out of character there for a minute. Back to the review.

Now for the good part. The best thing about laser printers is cartridge life. I printed a 200 page document and the black toner didn’t move an inch although I did have to refill the paper cartridge well before the end of the print run. Traditionally, a print job like that would overwhelm the standard inkjet cartridge.

Both color and black and white printing is sharp and clear but in my tests it wasn’t much better than some of the Epson inkjets I’ve tested. It’s also more difficult to get a standard photo print out of this kit although most of the images I tested came out as nice or better than the inkjet.

This is a business printer. It’s not for scrapbooking or a “fun” printer. If you’re a writer or need to print out lots of letters or personalized pamphlets – if you need a lot of copies, get a copier. But at 3 cents per monochrome page and 15 cents for a color page you’re getting a fairly good deal.

All that and you can finally say that you own a color laser printer. How cool is that?

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