DESIGN & BUILD
The Samsung Xpress SL-C460FW is small (40 x 36 x 28 cm) and lightweight (14 kg). A two-tone cubic body houses the four functions (print, copy, scan, fax) and connectivity (USB 2.0, Ethernet 10/100, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC connectivity), plus a WPS button. The 128 MB of standard memory allows for convenient sharing within a workgroup of 20. It's compatible with Windows XP through Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.4 through 10.7 and Linux. Also good, it supports the printer languages SPL-C (Samsung's own), PCL-5c, PCL-6c, PS3 and URF.
There are all kinds of buttons on the control panel, yet it's surprisingly understandable and easy to use. All info shows up on two lines of a black and white screen, which is a little old school and not as fun and intuitive as a big, colour touchscreen.
The Xpress SL-C460FW is almost point-for-point the same printer as the Samsung CLX-3305FW. It has the same body, the same engine and uses the same toner cartridges. The only major difference is the addition of NFC. To use the NFC you just touch your smartphone* to the dedicated spot on the printer. The Samsung Mobile Print app loads automatically onto the device, basically turning your phone or tablet into a remote control that tells the printer when to print or scan photographs (JPEG or PNG), web pages, PDFs or MS Office and Google Docs files. Ultimately, the benefit with NFC is the automatic app download, because if you don't have an NFC-enabled mobile device, you can still download Samsung Mobile Print and use that to print remotely.
Here's how it works:
The printer receiving print commands directly from our smartphone
With your smartphone placed on top of the printer, the app gives you three options: print, scan, fax. To print, you then simply select the links to your gallery, Google Drive documents, Gmail, a web page or Facebook. Then you can choose which pages to print, the paper size and type, the number of copies, colour/black & white... all right on your phone. It's user-friendly, fluid and intuitive.
So why in the world, on an advanced printer like this, made for business, would it not do duplex (double-sided prints).
Another unfortunate thing about this printer is that the paper tray only holds 150 sheets, which is scanty indeed for a company that prints 20,000 sheets per month. And that's the only tray there is to receive various paper types (glossy, recycled, thin...).
Inside are four smart chip slots for the toner cartridges.
* Full list of compatible smartphones here
The print speeds Samsung advertises are the same speeds we measured: 18 pages per minute (ppm) in B&W and 4 ppm in colour. That's slow for laser, especially in B&W. In comparison, the HP LaserJet Pro 400 Color MFP M475dn prints at 22 ppm in colour and B&W and the Ricoh Aficio SP C242SF prints at 21 ppm.
Pages per minute (ppm) in colour and B&W
The 2,400 x 600 DPI resolution and four toner cartridges allow for clean, precise and faithful colour prints. Despite a faint texturing in the image below (enlarged three times to bring out the detail), the legend is perfectly legible and the nuances in the solidly coloured areas show up well.
POWER USE & NOISE
Not only is this a quiet printer (46 dB), but it also consumes very little power: 2.4 W on standby and 600 W while running. This makes for an annual consumption of 2.4 kW per (1,000 pages).
Easy Eco Driver allows users to optimise their prints by previewing their documents and adjusting various settings, such as the colour mode, quality level, toner usage, etc. The Result Simulator then calculates what the ecological footprint is.
This is all great, but then why not include a duplex mode, the most effective way possible of saving paper? Plus, by default when you leave the printer on standby it frequently prints a "printing report" on a sheet of A4. So if you leave for the weekend and forget to turn the machine off, you'll find a nice stack of uselessly printed pages waiting for you.
SCAN & COPY
The scanner interface is easy to understand and well thought out, with a scroll-down menu to tell you what kind of document you're scanning (photo, text, magazine...). It takes 8 seconds to scan a 10 x 15 cm photograph and 15 seconds for a document, which is fast. You can choose to save your scanned file on a computer, USB device, or send it straight to a tablet or smartphone with the Samsung Mobile Print app installed. You can also use the NFC to send the scan directly to your smartphone.
COST PER PAGE
Red card! The toners that come pre-installed in the SL-C460FW are only half-full. The black cartridge, which usually yields 1,500 pages, only lasts 700. Same goes for the 1,000-page colour cartridges, which only actually last 500. Here the cost per page for all four cartridges is 22.8p, of which 4.2p is for the black toner, which usually costs around 2.5p. To get an idea compared to competing printers, the Xerox 6015 NI's average cost per page is 17.9p and the HP LaserJet Pro 400 color MFP M475dn's is 14.6p. That gives the Samsung Xpress SL-C460FW the highest cost per page of all the laser multifunctions we've reviewed recently.