good image quality, scan quality acceptable, very adjustable, duplex tray, toner save feature
Somewhat noisy during operation, part quality somewhat cheap and plastic-y, fax occasionally has difficulty recognizing incoming fax
Please understand that my 9 rating is based upon the little-Samsung-that-could's value, not its overall quality. While I'm no expert, I'm sure there are higher quality laser printers on the market. I *know* there are higher-quality scanners, copiers and fax machines. But if your family is like ... Read full review
Please understand that my 9 rating is based upon the little-Samsung-that-could's value, not its overall quality. While I'm no expert, I'm sure there are higher quality laser printers on the market. I *know* there are higher-quality scanners, copiers and fax machines. But if your family is like mine - i.e. fairly heavy computer use and printer use, as well as the occasional need for both scanning and copying, thsn this machine's combination of low price and many features might just be for you, as it was for us.
If you didn't already know, inkjet prints wind up being FAR more expensive per print than laser prints (especially monochrome laser, like the SCX-4521F). There's a reason that laser toner cartridges are the size of large rolling pins, while inkjet cartridges are typically smaller than a deck of cards: the laser cartridges last a LOT longer. And yes, they cost more, too....but remember, you're only buying ONE for this Samsung, instead of four or six or more for your inkjet. In the end, monochrome laser prints cost about 2-3¢ per page (for the toner), whereas inkjets cost up to 35¢. That's a big difference, especially if you have young children who are still learning the meaning of "conserve."
Our other printer is an Epson R-800, which is fantastic at photos but overkill for most everything else, and expensive as all heck - EIGHT different ink cartridges in all. We realized that most of what we printed were "pretty pictures" for the kids, yahoo maps, recipes, and that sort of thing....probably at a rate of two dozen for every legitimate photo we printed which required all of the capabilities of the R-800. What to do? I'd used laser printers in offices before, like everyone else, but considered them big, bulky, temperamental beasts that ran hot and required a visit from the manufacturer every time they needed service.
Then, by chance, I saw an ad for a really good deal on the Samsung SCX-4521F. I won't tell you what it is, since I doubt you can get it anymore, but it was significantly discounted by a few retailers when it was first released. So we decided at that price, we didn't have much to lose....
After plugging the thing in and some minor setup (anyone can do it), the thing has been running almost without flaw. How many times have you needed to fax something (perhaps you're working from home, or it's a legal document relating to your house), but although you can RECEIVE faxes on your computer, you can't SEND them, so you wind up having to drive to Kinko's in the middle of the night to make sure the fax gets through, or try to sneak it through the fax machine at work the next day? No more. Just pop it into the duplex tray (!) of the SCX-4521F, punch in the number, and you're all set. Ditto copying. A worker comes to your house to fix something, and you see him looking in a service manual. You know you could just refer to the page he's looking at and deal with it yourself next time, but he says the manual's the only one he's got. Now, you just walk over to the SCX-4521-F, lift up the copier lid, run off the pages you need, and you're all set. Same thing if a friend of your child's parent gives you the "double" prints they took at your child's birthday party - which you were too busy to take because you were cutting cake, recording who gave what gift, etc. There are some great pictures of your child, but you really want them in your computer, not moldering away in a closet somewhere. Now you can just scan in the few that you want right away.
In terms of performance, I will say upfront that the scan quality is mediocre. It won't win any resolution or color-accuracy prizes. But it's more than enough for print documents, faxes, and consumer-level photographs that you just want a digital archive of. As far as print quality, well, it's monochrome, which may be a bummer for some people. But think honestly for a moment: how much of what you print - web pages and the like - really NEEDS to be in color? Your google maps? Descriptions of a product that's on sale somewhere? If you're like us, most of what you print is throwaway anyway, and the few things that are NOT photographs which you really want to look good are things like business letters, older children's school reports, etc. In that respect, if you've been living with the text quality of inkjet printers, the SCX-4521F will actually be a step UP for you. Black text, even at small font sizes, is clear and crisp right out to the edges of the page - MUCH clearer and crisper than virtually any injket I've ever seen. And faxes come through with the least clutter possible from such a low-fi medium.
All in all, the Samsung SCX-4521F is a fantastic little unit for the busy family or small home office. I don't know how long it will last, which is where other, far more expensive, laser printers may have it over the little Samsung, but for the price you can probably get it for if you do a little looking, even if it only lasts a few years, it will have been a stone bargain for someone in my situation. Highly recommended.