A few weeks ago, my old and trusty HP Deskjet 3845 Color Inkjet printer died while printing some envelopes. I don't even remember when I bought this printer, probably over 10 years ago. I happened to pass an electronics shop, so I went in and bought a Samsung ML-2165W for €59.45. This was an impulsive buy.
I had no idea what to buy, but I did know I wanted a black & white laser printer. I don't print a lot, maybe 5 pages a month. Ink evaporates and cartridges are expensive and the same goes for color. As I never print photos (online print services are so cheap these days), the color ink was only used to print advertising on plane or train tickets, sometimes the occasional website. I figured a black & white printer would save me from checking the printer settings each time.
My previous printer served me well, why wouldn't I opt for an HP again? The most important reason is probably their software. A driver is all I need so please don't include tons of other applications I don't need. It gives me the impression I have to pay for something I don't want. I buy a printer, not a photo manager. On top of that, HP has received some bad press lately. I assume they lose money on their hardware and make a ton of profit on the cartridges. Maybe all printer vendors do?
While unpacking the Samsung ML-2165W, I notice it has everything in the box; a power and USB cable, nice. I have seen printers where you where required to buy a ‘printer cable’ (= USB cable) separately in the past. I connected the printer with the USB cable and printed a test page. It worked out of the box. The laser printer is fast (compared with the old inkjet) and the quality is what I expect from a €60 printer. Not bad, not great, but certainly good enough for printing text and plane tickets. So far, so good.
The Samsung ML-2165W is also a wireless printer and is compatible with Mac OS X; or so they say.
I installed the Samsung Easy Printer Manager on Mac OS X Lion to configure the wireless settings on the printer, as I don't have a router that supports WPS (well, I do, but that's another story). The Easy Printer Manager is as unpredictable as I had feared. The printer, still connected via USB, didn't show up in the Easy Printer Manager. Sometimes it did, but only to disappear again. The wizard did not find the printer and blamed me for not connecting the USB cable. If the printer did show up, it would sometimes tell me this model did not support WIFI. After continuously rebooting, I may be able to access the WIFI settings menu. The menu does not show any wireless networks. A few demotivating hours later, I gave up and booted the Windows VM and ran the installation wizard. I finished the setup process in 5 minutes.
Samsung, please, don't include Mac OS X software if you don't care about it. Don't include a support link on your website if it only refreshes the page. Don't show 4 out of 5 star ratings if you don't show the actual reviews and almost every other review on the internet makes you look bad. Samsung, please, care about your clients.
Once I was past the initial setup (thanks to Windows), the printer works great. All the Macs in the house pick up the printer and fetch and install the driver automatically.
Overall this is a great little printer for a great price (still have to see what a new toner will cost me). It's fast and the quality is what I expect from it. Could it be improved? Sure, fixing the Mac OS X software (or leaving it out and providing a web interface) would go a long way. Having some minimal customer support or a FAQ page might have made me a happy customer.
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