From the desktop to the corporate boardroom, colour is increasingly perceived and used as an important and necessary dimension of business communications. Overall the last five years or so the market has evolved from a situation where users in corporations asked themselves, ‘Why do we need colour?’ to one where their key question has become, ‘How do I roll colour out in my whole organisation?’

But there are still situations where the higher operating costs of printing in colour aren’t justified. Accountants, solicitors and other small-business owners probably don’t need colour?especially if all they print are invoices. Although the personal and small workgroup laser printer is facing considerable difficulties due to increased pressure from low-cost inkjet and multifunction printers, there’s still a market for these razor-sharp monochrome workhorses.

What is the ML-1915 and who is it for?

The ML-1915 (from £78.83) is an A4 monochrome printer that does almost everything you’d expect from a device of its type. Available in either a black or white finish, it is aimed at single users working at home or in a small office who don’t need the scan or fax capabilities of a multifunction device. Its features are limited compared to the glossy inkjet models lining the shelves of your local computer retailer, but the ML-1915 is built for business.

The compact device (360×389x197mm, 7.25kg) is a good looking piece of kit, sporting a mix of matte and glossy black plastic and a cute rounded design. Attention to detail is evident from the patterned top that prevents finger prints and protects against scratch damage to the enclosed paper tray that ensures paper is kept dust free and clean. A cover on the output tray at the rear of the printer adds a little bulk, but it does help a little to keep the operating noise level down.

Does it do it well?

With print speeds of up to 18ppm (pages-per-minute) and a first page out time of just over 10 seconds, the ML-1915 is more than fast enough for individuals and small offices. Its printer driver cuts straight to the chase and there’s even a power saving option that puts the ML-1915 do sleep. It prints beautifully crisp text at a native resolution of 1200×600dpi and business graphics/photos are well above average with very little evidence of banding.

The ML-1915 stands out from crowd thanks to a really cool feature that lets you print any page displayed on your computer display at the touch of a button?eliminating the need to delve into application and driver settings. To print what’s on your monitor, all you do is hit the dedicated button on the ML-1915 and the page is printed in about 10 seconds (double that time if the printer has to be woken up). This is a fantastic feature and the ML-1915 produces trouble-free printouts without any page-aligning errors or missed graphics?regardless of what resolution you’re running your display.

Another standout feature is Samsung’s AnyWeb Print software. Although you have to download the utility?why Samsung doesn’t include it on the CD-ROM is annoying?it lets you drag and drop specific content from Web pages into a new blank page on your PC screen, which you can then save or print. AnyWeb Print lets you print just the information you really need, rather than printing several whole Web pages when you only want a small section of each?saving time, paper and toner.

For ease of use the ML-1915 supports either a 1500-page or 2500-page toner cartridge. High-yield toner cartridges, which are better suited for heavy users, last longer and provide a lower cost-per-page. Optionally, low-yield toner cartridges have the advantage of lower initial outlay. Both versions provide the same high standard of quality and reliability.

Where does the ML-1915 disappoint?

The ML-1915 is far from the most powerful laser printer. There’s no colour printing facility of course, nor can you scan or send a fax. There’s only 8MB memory under the hood, so those working on large files or printing large volumes might hit bottlenecks, and there’s no wireless feature for printing from your phone. There’s not even an Ethernet port for sharing the printer on a network?the ML-1915 really is a personal printer.

Paper handling is another limitation and the ML-1915 provides just a single 250-sheet input cassette. The output tray is equally restrictive, housing 80 face-down sheets. Finishing options are out of the question, but it does take media in a number of sizes: A4, A5, A6, Letter, Legal, Executive, Folio, Oficio, ISO B5, JIS B5 and Custom. Finally, there is no LCD display for managing print jobs, nor are there any memory card slots for printing independently from a computer. Unethically, Samsung ships the ML-1915 with a 700-page starter toner cartridge, so you’d better budget for an extra 1500-page (£41.08) or 2500-page (£51.20) toner cartridge.

Would we recommend the ML-1915?

With the growing popularity of Web-based applications and increasing use of the Internet, it is no surprise that printing online content now represents the second major source of printed documents. In recognition of this trend, the ML-1915’s one-touch ‘Print Screen’ button is the quickest and easiest way we’ve come across to print what’s displayed on a PC screen?including multiple Web browsers or the windows of different applications.

One-touch button aside, the ML-1915 is a regular personal mono laser printer that happens to look better and cost less than most?just remember to factor in the price of a proper toner cartridge. It sports a cute deign, is a snap to use, and produces well above par image quality. Good for individuals, but small workgroups will want a more powerful printer that includes an Ethernet port, more memory and better paper handling.