Recommend this product?
I purchased this printer back in 2004 as I needed to print many high quality black-and-white pages over a period of several months. Best Buy had a significant sale on, and the printer cost about $80 out the door.
The printer comes with a "starter cartridge", which was rated for about 1,000 pages. As my pages had greater text density and line art, I expended the toner in about 700 pages.
Replacement Samsung-brand toner cartridges are fairly pricey, running anywhere from $70-$90 depending on where one looks. Online vendors tend to stock them for cheaper than retail stores, but shipping might nullify any savings. Samsung brand cartridges are, I believe, rated for 3,000-4,000 pages.
Off-brand cartridges are available, but I cannot speak for their quality. They tend to run about $50 for each cartridge and are rated for about 3,000 pages.
Personally, I've found that it's relatively easy to refill my own cartridges using toner purchased online. Surprisingly, eBay is a good source of toner, costing about $5-$8 (plus shipping) per bottle. Each bottle is good for about 3,000 pages in my experience. The generic toner manufacturers suggest that one shouldn't refill the cartridge more than twice, but I've had mine refilled three times with no problems whatsoever.
Removing the fill plug can be a challenge if you don't have the right tools, but a set of needle-nose pliers and a small screwdriver (for prying) is all one really needs. If your cartridge has reached the end of its useful life, several retail stores offer discounts on new cartridges if you recycle your old one.
Print quality with the ML-1710 is quite high, which is what I'd expect for a laser printer. Text and lines are dark, crisp, and straight. Multi-colored graphics print reasonably well (in grayscale, of course), but tend to be darker than one might expect.
When the "Toner Save" button is activated, the printer supposedly uses about 40% less toner per page. For everyday use and document printing this is perfectly adequate, though it can cause documents to look faded when the toner starts running low. Turning the option off restores the darkness as toner runs low, though it accelerates the consumption of toner.
The printer comes with a paper magazine which can hold about 1/2 to 2/3 of a ream of paper, and has a paper capacity indicator on the front of the magazine. It has an envelope or single-sheet feeder on the front, which makes printing envelopes or labels a snap. One doesn't need to remove the magazine in order to feed individual sheets.
Most documents pass through the internal mechanisms and are presented face-down into the recess on the top of the printer by a series of internal rollers. This may cause problems when printing envelopes (they don't like being bent), so there's a door on the back of the printer that one can open to send documents "straight through". Very handy when printing label sheets or envelopes, as they don't get damaged or warped going through the printer.
Things That Irritate Me
While I feel this printer is excellent, particularly taking into account its low price, there are a few things that irritate me about it.
First off, the printer takes a fair bit of time to "warm up" (about 15-30 seconds depending on room temperature). The included software for Windows PCs allows the user to configure how long the printer stays "hot" before going into an idle mode. The software for the Macintosh does not have options to make these changes. Fortunately, I have both platforms, so it's not that big of a deal.
Secondly, whenever a new toner cartridge is inserted, or whenever the front panel is closed the printer warms up. The switch is on the inside of the upper-right portion of the gray front panel, and is frequently tripped accidentally when changing the paper magazine. I don't believe it's necessary for the printer to heat up whenever the panel's closed, so this bugs me a bit.
Thirdly, the printed-page tray on the top of the printer is too small to hold more than a few sheets without them sliding off the top. It does not support the whole length of paper, so after about 3-4 pages have been printed additional ones just slide out onto the desk. It has a small plastic flap that can be extended to prevent this, but I wish it could hold the pages without the flap. This might not be a big deal for some, but it's just a little thing that bugs me.
Finally, as other reviews have noted, the printer does not come with a USB cable. This isn't a major irritant, but it does add a few extra dollars to the purchase price. Be sure to pick up a cable at the store before coming home and realizing you forgot it -- it saves a trip back.
I've printed about 7,000 pages and the printer shows no signs of have problems. I took it in for service at a local copier-repair place authorized by Samsung when I had problems printing envelopes, but it turns out that the printer was fine and my envelope software was screwy. Still, Samsung's warranty covered the cost of service.
I've driven several hundred miles with this printer in the trunk of my car (moved from Washington State to San Francisco, and several years later from San Francisco to Tucson, Arizona). It's been bumped around, exposed to high temperatures in the car, and still works flawlessly. I suspect it'll last quite some time in a home or office environment.
For the price, this printer is an excellent bargain. It prints high-quality pages, is efficient with toner, and toner refills are inexpensive and common.
It makes a modest amount of noise when warming up or actually printing (obviously it makes no noise when idle, even when hot), but this shouldn't be a problem unless one is using it in a library. For a home or small office environment, it is ideal.
It has a very small footprint, and is much smaller than many other laser printers on the market today (for example, HP printers). It fits easily on a desk or table.
In an office environment, it makes sense to have it connected to a computer that's always on and share the printer, or to get a USB-to-Ethernet adapter to share the printer on the network. The printer does not have a network port, but this is not a very big setback at all.
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Amount Paid (US$): 80
Operating System: Windows