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Review: Samsung SCX-4500 monochrome laser printer

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At a Glance
  • Samsung SCX-4500

Most laser multifunction printers (MFPs) have the ability to print in color and are built for small-to-medium businesses—but the daily cost of color printing is expensive. For the cost conscious, a monochrome multifunction laser printer like Samsung’s SCX-4500, which includes a built-in scanner and copier, is a welcome alternative. The SCX-4500 is a good overall performer, offering the benefits of high-quality monochrome laser prints and color scans without putting a dent in your budget.

Sporting a sleek, black exterior with a glossy finish, the SCX-4500 sits attractively on your desk. The SCX-4500 is light and compact for an MFP, weighing about 19 pounds. However, the printer lacks an output tray for your prints. You’ll have to turn the SCX-4500 away from the edge of your desk to prevent papers from falling on the floor.

Samsung SCX-4500
The SCX-4500 is quick and quiet.

The SCX-4500 features an intuitive, touch-sensitive control panel with only seven buttons (Power, Start Copy, Scan to PC, Stop/Clear, Darkness, Reduce/Enlarge, and Copies). The panel’s simplicity makes it easy to work the SCX-4500; there’s no fretting over the controls.

The SCX-4500’s scanning software is intuitive and well designed, too. You’ll appreciate the software’s options; for example, you can set image type (e.g., true color RGB and lineart), resolution (up to 600-by-2,400 dots per inch), document type, and filters to adjust sharpness or blur. Other MFPs I’ve tested include software with only a minimal number of customization options.

The SCX-4500 turned in speedy print results. It took 13 seconds to print a 1-page Word document, 46 seconds to print a 10-page Word document, and 31 seconds to print a 4-page PDF. The SCX-4500’s scanning speed isn’t shabby either. With sharpening turned off, the scanner took 77 seconds to scan an 8-by-10-inch photo at 600 dpi, and 78 seconds to scan a 4-by-6-inch photo at 1,200 dpi.

When it comes to image quality, the SCX-4500 doesn’t disappoint. The SCX-4500 earned a Good rating (on a scale of Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor) from our panel of experts in our Text Quality test; overall, text appeared clean and smooth, but not as sharp as the output from other laser printers we’ve tested. Print quality lost integrity at finer point sizes. On our Graphics, Fine Lines, and Gradients test, the SCX-4500 earned a Good rating: fine lines were clean and well preserved, gradients looked flushed and weren’t well-distinguished, and graphics looked professional though a bit dotty.

To test the SCX-4500’s copy quality, we copied the cover of the December 2006 issue of Macworld. The SCX-4500’s copy looked rich and detailed but a bit too grainy overall, earning a Very Good rating.

The SCX-4500’s scanner got a Very Good rating for color: compared to our control photo of a picnic, the SCX-4500’s scan output looked pleasing but a bit too blue. The scanner received a Good rating for clarity: overall, the scans appeared a little soft and could have been sharper.

Timed Trials: Print

10-page Word test 0:46
1-page Word test 0:13
4-page PDF 0:31

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

Timed Trials: Scan

8-by-10-inch photo, 600 dpi scan 1:17
4-by-6-inch photo, 1,200 dpi scan 1:18

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

Jury Tests: Print

Graphics: Fine Lines and Gradients Good
Text Quality Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

Jury Tests: Scan

Color Very Good
Clarity Good
Copy Very Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

How We Tested: We ran all tests with the laser multifunction printer connected via USB 2.0 to a 2.66GHz Mac Pro with Mac OS X 10.4.10 installed and 1GB of RAM. We recorded the time it took the MFP to print a 1-page Word document, a 10-page Word document, and a 4-page PDF. We then recorded the time it took to scan an 8-by-10-inch photo at 600 dpi, as well as the time it took to scan a 4-by-6-inch photo at 1,200 dpi. A panel of experts examined sample output of the MFP to evaluate its print, scan, and copy quality as either Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor in comparison to the output of past color laser MFPs we’ve tested. — Macworld Lab Testing by Brian Chen


Print Resolution 600 x 600 dpi
Scan Resolution: Optical 600 x 2,400 dpi
Max. scanning bit depth 24-bit
Connection USB 2.0
Paper Sizes A4, A5, A6, Letter, Executive, ISO B5, JIS B5
Cost to Replace Toner Cartridge $80 for black
Weight (in pounds) 18.9
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 6.5 x 15.5 x 13
Paper Capacity 100 sheets
Special Features Touch-sensitive control panel

Macworld’s buying advice

The SCX-4500 is an attractive, pleasantly quiet, and user-friendly MFP that turns in solid all-around results. The lack of an output tray is irritating, but the SCX-4500 would be a good fit in your personal office.

[Brian Chen is an associate editor at Macworld.]

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • User friendly
    • Good scan and print quality
    • Flexible scanning options
    • Speedy scanner and printer
    • Quiet


    • Print quality loses integrity at finer point sizes
    • Copies are grainy
    • Printer lacks an output tray
    • Scans appear soft
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