OVERVIEW: Now days, most of the “all-in-one” printers in stores today don’t have “all” the features of earlier models. As printers have gotten smaller and sending scanned documents via e-mail has become acceptable in many businesses, the fax feature has been replaced with slots for flash memory media. However, there are still times when you run across a client or a business that will only accept faxed documents. The Samsung CLX-3160FN is an all-in-one color printer that not only offers faxing, scans, copies, printing, but also direct printing from USB flash drives, and network connectivity.
The CLX stands for “Color Laser Multifunction”, the FN for “Fax and Network”. If you don’t want to turn on the computer every time you want to make a copy, a fax, or e-mail a scan, you don’t have to. The CLX-3160FN has a full control panel with an on-screen menu for printer setup and operation without the need for software. There is also an option for choosing whether to print only in B&W to save on color toner. It even has a USB socket that allows you print image files directly from any USB flash/memory drive.
A pass-through external phone jack on the back of the printer allows for plugging a telephone or an answering machine. 15, one-touch programmable keys allow speed-dialing for up to 30 fax numbers. An address book function allows for more frequently used fax numbers to be stored and retrieved. To protect unwanted access, received fax pages can be stored in memory and retrieved using a 4-digit security password.
As a copier, the 5-in-1 can zoom from 25% up to 400%, and make up to 99 copies in color or B&W. The color scanner portion of the CLX-3160FN is compatible with TWAIN & and XP/Vista’s WIA standards. Under TWAIN, the 1,200 x 1,200 dpi resolution can be increased to 4,800 x 4,800 dpi.
The CLX-3160FN comes standard with a 150-sheet cassette tray that can support letter or legal-size sheets, with a 1-sheet multi-purpose tray to handle transparencies, labels, post cards, envelopes, 3” x 5” postcards up to 8½” x 14” legal paper of various bond weights. On top of the CLX-3160FN is a 50-sheet automatic document feeder for quick single-sided scanning, faxing, and copying of multiple pages. If 150-sheet capacity is a little thin, a 250-sheet cassette can be added on for more paper capacity.
You’re giving the choice of USB or Ethernet connectivity. The 128MB of built-in RAM allows this multi-function printer to easily handle the print demands of networked computers.
After a quick 35-second warm-up, the CLX-3160FN prints and copies up to a modest 17 pages per minute in Black and White, 4 pages per minute in color. In operation, the all-in-1 produces 52dB of sound and 35dB when idle. Think of 55dB as the sound of low conversations and 40 decibels as the level of whispering. At a maximum print resolution of 2400 x 600 dpi, the CLX-3160FN keeps text reasonably clear--and does a decent job with basic graphics.
One of the things you need to consider when you decide to get a color laser printer is if you want a “multi-pass” color printing or “single-pass” printing. The CLX-3160FN is a color multi-pass printer: color printing is 4 times slower printing because the paper has to pass through each of the 4 toners. It’s similar to the way t-shirts and posters are manually silk-screened. If you plan on a lot of color printing, you might want to opt for a single-pass printer instead.
The CLX-3160FN only offers Samsung’s SPL-C print emulator. While the SPL-C will handle most jobs, imaging problems like “ghosting” can occur if trying to print certain graphics created by Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator without PostScript emulation.
INK / TONER NEEDS:
The CLX-3160FN comes with a 75% full black cartridge, and 70% full color cartridges. The standard yield cartridges can be purchased separately, especially if the black toner gets depleted at a higher rate than the other colors. Combo-packages are available to save on costs.
Other consumables you’ll need to consider is replacing the waste toner container every 1,250 pages, and replacement of the Imaging Unit every 20,000 passes. One color page goes through 4 toner passes, while a B&W page only has one pass. So if you only do color printing, your time to replace is shortened up to a factor of four.
Being a multi-purpose printer, one would expect the software to provide full functions for all the computer platforms Samsung claims it supports. The software in the CD-ROM is primarily for Windows compatible machines. For Windows users, the SmartThru software provides the most features, supporting not only scanning and printing, but offering an advanced printing section that allows for booklet printing, creating a large poster mosaics, and watermarks.
To remotely change network printer configurations and notifications, Samsung’s SyncThru Web service allows printer changes to be made using your IE, Safari, or Firefox browser.
The CLX-3160FN is a versatile 5-in-one; offering network color printing, copying, scanning and faxing, plus the ability to read directly from USB flash memory. -- Mel Myers