All-in-one printers are all the rage nowadays. To be noticed a gadget must go the distance and double as a MP3 player, personal organizer and a portable videogame device, for instance. All-in-one printers were pioneers in that particular field, combining printing, copying, scanning, and faxing functions. The Samsung SCX-4100 Digital Productivity Center does all that – minus faxing – in an affordable package.
Although being bigger than a traditional printer, a all-in-one device minimizes space usage in a crowded home office or small business. It’s a good choice for those with space issues – but it’s inadequate for the needs of a big corporate office who demands faster copying and professional (i.e., larger) scanning surfaces.
Being laser-based, the SCX-4100 is a more economical choice over bubble jet printer whose cartridges are expensive in comparison to their durability. But be mindful that the SCX-4100 is a black-and-white device – so no color printing/copying for you, although it obviously scans color documents. The toner cartridge is good for about 3,000 copies, a figure that can increase 40% with toner management software (included).
The device has a main paper tray that holds 250 sheets up to legal size. You can manually feed a sheet at time into a slot right above the front paper tray, and there’s also a rear slot for jam-prone material, like envelopes and transparencies. Unfortunately, the SCX-4100 lacks an automatic document feeder.
Figure 1: Samsung SCX-4100 (front view).
Figure 2: Samsung SCX-4100 (rear view).
The Samsung SCX-4100 requires space. We tried putting it in a regular printer niche in our table and it was a bad call. We didn’t have access to the rear feed slot and turning it on required some acrobatics from our part. The scanner lid also got blocked. The best solution is a side table that allows 360-degree clearance and access to the lid on the top.
This all-in-one can be connected to a PC via USB or parallel ports in its back (cables not included). Insert the CD-ROM to install the Samsung’s SmarThru software which controls the printing, copying and scanning functions, and also manages the digital photos inside your HD in nice photo albums (both online and offline). The SmarThru also has some image editing features but you can also a TWAIN-compliant software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to manipulate images with a greater range of functions.
[nextpage title=”Printer Function”]As a printer, all-in-one SCX-4100 does a nice job. It prints text documents and graphics in an average speed of 13 ppm (pages per minute) with great fidelity. It took 20 seconds to deliver the first print after we clicked the mouse over the Print button in our word processor. There are some useful features like creating and customizing watermarks, overlaying text and images on a document to create letterhead, and even printing posters. This all-in-one splits a big document over four sheets so you can print and later glue them together to form a poster. It’s a good feature for school works and printing club events posters. The front-and-back printing is done without the hassle you’d expect from regular printers. We tested it by printing a public domain book with two pages per sheet and front-to-back.[nextpage title=”Scanner Function”]
You can use the SmarThru 4 to scan a document and send it to an application to be manipulated; to a file to be saved; to an e-mail message; or to the OCR software. The OCR – optical character recognition – allows you to scan a newspaper article, for example, and convert it to a text document file (with an .rtf extension). We did a test with a magazine article and the result was pretty good, with only a paragraph out of place – something easily corrected by the word processor we send it to.
This all-in-one scans text and images at up to 4,800dpi, although at this resolution the PC slows down to a crawl (even the 1 GB RAM machine we used in this test). The scanning lid could’ve been more mobile to help press a thick book to be scanned or copied. After being lifted, the scanning lid stands only one inch above the scanner surface to allow you to lay flat a thin book. The SCX-4100 scans color documents at 3 ppm and black-and-white documents at 4 ppm.
[nextpage title=”Copy Function”]Operating a copy machine is not exactly rocket science. You can run it through the SmarThru 4 software or simply by using the seven control-panel buttons which are similar to any copy machine available. There’s a two-line LCD display for menu choices like number of copies, shrinking or enlarging documents, adjusting printout darkness etc. Everything is simple and intuitive – our only complaint is that the LCD could have used some backlighting, and, as we previously said, the SCX-4100 lacks an automatic document feeder to make copying originals faster. This all-in-one copied documents at 6 ppm.[nextpage title=”Specifications”]
- All-in-one laser printer/scanner/copier
- Width: 16.6″ (42,2 cm)
- Depth: 15.8″ (40 cm)
- Height: 9.4″ (23,9 cm)
- Weight: 21.1 lbs (9.6 Kg)
- Memory: 8 MB
- PC Connection: USB or Parallel
- Max Copying/Printing Resolution: 600 x 600 dpi (B/W)
- Max Scanning Resolution: 4,800 x 4,800 dpi
- Greyscale: 256 levels
- Paper types: Legal, A4, Letter, Folio, Executive, B5, A5, A6, Envelope 6 3/4, 7 3/4,#9, #10, DL, C5, B5 – 76 x 127 mm (3″ x 5″) ~ 216 x 356 mm (8.5″ x 14″)
- Paper capacity: 250-sheet main tray, front and rear manual slot
- Toner cartridge capacity: 3,000 copies
- Average Price in the USA*: USD 160
- More information: https://www.samsung.com
* Researched on https://www.pricewatch.com/ on the day we published this review.
- Compact design for a laser all-in-one printer
- Easy installation
- Easy to use proprietary software
- Great fidelity in text printing
- Lacks an automatic document feeder
- Even though is compact, it requires plenty of space to operate
- Lacks backlit display
- Lid could’ve been more mobile to allow a thick book to be scanned or copied
- No fax-feature or memory card slot like other multifunction devices
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