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Samsung CLX-6220FX MFP

Small workgroups will like this colour multifunction's features and print quality, which balance out its middling performance

Despite a few quirks, the Samsung CLX-6220FX colour laser multifunction printer is well worth considering for small-workgroup use. It offers only average performance and toner costs, but its output quality is very nice. Although the printer lists for $699, we’d seen it advertised for less than $500 as of September 15, 2010, so it could also represent a minimal initial investment.

The CLX-6220FX faxes, copies, prints, and scans–via both USB and Ethernet. Duplexing is standard for both printing and copying or scanning via the 50-sheet automatic document feeder. You get a 250-page input cassette and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, plus a 170-page output tray. An additional 500-sheet, bottom-mounted cassette is available for $235. The control panel is minimal but efficient, with a four-line monochrome LCD, a logical menu and navigation-button layout, and a numeric keypad for faxing. Bundled applications are provided for both Windows and OS X, and they are easy to use. In our tests, however, the installation on the Mac tucked them away in the Applications folder without leaving a clue as to their existence.

As mentioned earlier, the CLX-6220FX’s output quality is very good for a midlevel laser printer. On tests with both our PC and our Mac, text was sharp. Colour images exhibited a slightly bright but still realistic default palette, which made the mild background pattern and graininess more tolerable. Our PC scan sample (a high-resolution snapshot) looked cartoonish, while the Mac scan sample (an even higher-resolution, near-full-page photo) tended to get too murky in darker areas. Copies on both platforms were crisp and well coloured.

You should stick with the high-yield toner for the Samsung CLX-6220FX. The standard-size supplies, a set of which ships with the unit, are pricey: A 2500-page, standard-size black toner cartridge costs $90 (3.6 cents per page), and 2000-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges each cost $99 (4.9 cents per colour, per page). A page with all four colours would cost 18.4 cents, more than many inkjet MFPs charge. The high-yield cartridge costs are average, but still a relief, as a 5000-page black cartridge is $120 (2.4 cents per page), while 4000-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges are $140 each (3.5 cents per colour, per page). A four-colour page with these cartridges would cost a reasonable 12.9 cents.

The CLX-6220FX’s middling performance is adequate for a small workgroup’s needs. Copying and scanning speeds were about average. Printing a mix of plain-text pages, some with simple monochrome graphics, it managed a ho-hum 11.5 pages per minute; on our Mac, the rate was a slower 9.5 ppm. Snapshot-size photo samples (printed on letter-size paper) rushed out at a chart-topping 3.1 ppm on our PC; meanwhile, a near-full-page, high-resolution photo took 94 seconds (about 0.6 ppm) to emerge from our Mac testbed. We also encountered one noticeable quirk: On our Mac, a four-page PDF file of complex graphics took forever to print in Acrobat Reader 9; the poky 2.8 ppm time we show in our test results was when we printed from Apple’s Preview. Samsung is aware of the problem.

The Samsung CLX-6220FX offers great text quality and decent high-yield toner costs. The PDF print problem aside, this MFP will serve a small workgroup capably.