The Samsung SCX-5637FR is a monochrome, laser multifunction device that's designed for small business users. It can be used to print, scan, photocopy and send and receive faxes, and it can be connected via USB or Gigabit Ethernet. It has a straightforward design with a primitive 4-line LCD menu display, but it also includes Web features that allow for more convenient monitoring and management. It also has onboard storage that allows regularly-used documents to be stored directly on the printer for quick access.
As far as laser multifunction devices are concerned, the SCX-5637FR is not huge; it will only take up around 47x47cm on a table. You'll need to leave some room at the back for the power and data cables and for the scanner lid to be able to open freely. Printed sheets come out through the top of the unit and rest face down below the control panel in a crevice that's capable of holding up to 150-pages. Pages do suffer from slight curling after they emerge from the printer, but it's not worse than what we've seen from other laser printers. The sole consumable for this printer is the toner cartridge, which needs to be installed through the front of the unit; there are no other consumables listed for this printer. (See the end of the review for pricing and yields.)
With a 250-sheet cassette (which was a little fiddly to work with), a 50-page multi-purpose tray and a monthly duty cycle up to 80,000 pages, the SCX-5637FR is more than capable of meeting the needs of a small business that needs to print invoices or any other essential documents many times per day. It has a powerful engine that pushed out pages at a rate of 26 per minute in our tests (with a consistent first page out time of 15sec), but this printer is not purely built for speed: it also has a focus on environmental friendliness.
The printer goes into standby mode after one minute of idle time. It consumes 6.7W of electricity in this mode, which is a saving of around 4W compared to when the printer is sitting idle (10.4W). The power consumption peaked at 1050W while the printer heated up and got ready to undertake a print job. An Eco button on the printer's control panel allows you to save toner and paper; it reduces the intensity of the toner to a 'draft' mode and it makes use of the built-in duplexer to prints on both sides of the page. Furthermore, it prints two pages per side, so a 12-page document, for example, can be printed on three pages.
Eco mode can also be enforced through the printer driver and it lets you know how much your carbon footprint will decrease by if you use it. It's great for printing any documents that don't need to look 'professional'. They will print out in a draft mode that looks lighter than what the printer can normally do, but it's still readable. In normal mode, the printer's quality is acceptable. Text and graphs look crisp and have good contrast.
At the top of the printer rests a flatbed scanner, which comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF). Scan can be initiated from a computer, or from the printer's control panel. They can be sent to a networked PC, to email addresses or to a USB key plugged into the front of the machine. Scan quality, even 300dpi isn't great, but it does a good enough job for basic photocopying and scanning of documents. We wouldn't use it to scan photographs though. The ADF can handle up to 50 sheets at a time and is a great time saver when you need to make copies of multi-page documents.
Regularly-printed static documents can be stored in the printer's inbuilt 2GB of flash memory, in what Samsung calls the 'Document Box'. It's a poorly documented feature, but it allows you to create 'boxes' that can be shared among users, or which are password protected for individual users. Documents can be scanned and stored in these boxes and accessed at any time either through the printer's menu system or through the printer's Web interface (if you have it networked). It can be convenient for storing sick leave, holiday or expense forms. We just wish Samsung supplied better documentation for this feature and clearer instructions on how to use it.
That said, the overall ease of use of the Samsung SCX-5637FR is quite good. We had it up and running on our network in a few minutes and we could use almost all of its functions without having to consult the manual — we do wish there was more information on its networking features and on its Document Box feature though. Small businesses without IT support should have few problems getting this multifunction device up and running, and maintenance should be hassle-free because of the single consumable and the ability to monitor the printer via a Web page and the supplied Easy Printer Manager software.
- MLT-D205E has a yield of 10,000 pages and has a recommended retail price of $390. Cost per page: 3.9 cents.
- MLT-D205L has a yield of 5,000 pages and has a recommended retail price of $234. Cost per page: 4.6 cents.
-MLT-D205S has a yield of 2000 pages and has a recommended retail price of $150. Cost per page: 7.5 cents.
Note that you should be able to find these cartridges at much cheaper prices if you shop around.