Review: Samsung SCX-4500 Multifunction Printer - Page 2

By Eric Grevstad | Posted May 09, 2008

Pretty Speedy

Our biggest gripe with the SCX-4500 is the same one we've had with a dozen other printer/scanner/copier/sometimes fax machines: Without an automatic document feeder (ADF), you're obliged to lift the flatbed scanner lid and place pages on the legal-sized scanner glass one at a time, so copying more than a few pages is a tiresome chore. Flip the lid up and expect it to balance or stay open as with many multifunctions, by the way, and it crashes right back down onto your fingers.

The 600 by 4,200 dpi (optical resolution) scanner works great for its probable primary job, capturing or copying office documents. We were disappointed with the quality of color photo scans, both because several looked fairly noisy and because the scanner persistently cropped about an eighth of an inch off the right side of the full-bleed or borderless images we fed it.

Walk-up copying works fine, too, with the abovementioned touch controls governing the number of copies plus 50 to 199 percent zoom or document resizing. Making 20 copies of a magazine cover took a swift 1 minute and 21 seconds, placing the Samsung among the fastest desktop copiers we've tested.

To return to the Samsung's minimalist controls, we've been spoiled by printer/scanner/copiers with front-panel LCD menus that let you set up a list of scanning possibilities such as "Scan to e-mail, Scan to PDF, Scan to Paint Shop Pro, Scan to OCR" and so forth. Since the SCX has a single "Scan to PC" button, you must set that button's function before you begin, using a software utility that allows only one destination at a time.

To be fair, the rest of the supplied software is helpful and intuitive, with everything from accurate ReadIris optical character recognition to a photo-browsing and -printing utility that offers a variety of printing layouts and simple image editing functions.

Fast Enough for Client Files

High-volume enterprise copiers, of course, crank out 30, 40, or more pages per minute, but a rated 17 ppm is more than prompt enough for the SCX-4500's occasional to medium-sized print jobs. Our single-page letter with small graphic company logo printed in 15 seconds (from sleep mode) or 12 seconds (with the printer primed and awake). A 20-page Microsoft Word file took 81 seconds, the same as the 20-page copying job.

Six PowerPoint slides appeared in 31 seconds, and our 55-page Adobe Acrobat PDF document took 3 minutes and 33 seconds. Print quality was very good for text in big and small font sizes alike. PowerPoint and Excel charts and graphics were good as well, though we noted the common monochrome laser shortcomings of banding in solid-color areas and unappealing, grainy 8 by 10-inch photo images (printed in about 15 seconds apiece). Small photos in flyers and newsletters looked fine.

So where does the SCX-4500 fit in? We give it a thumbs down, partly because we give one to every multifunction copier or fax without an ADF for multipage jobs and partly for other shortcomings such as the thin paper tray and painstaking scanner settings. None of those, however, will disqualify it in the eyes of style-conscious users or office-conversation-piece seekers. Put it this way: You've seen sleek, executive-status-symbol laptops. Think of this as a status-symbol printer. It's fine for light duty, but mostly gets by on its looks.

Adapted from Hardwarecentral.com.

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