With its fast speed and above-par output quality, the colour laser Samsung CLP-415NW delivers nicely on two of the most important issues for any printer. Add in paper handling suitable for light to medium-duty use in a micro or small office or workgroup, plus connection options that include Wi-Fi Direct for easy connection to smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and it's an easy pick for Editors' Choice for a small office or workgroup.
The CLP-415NW matches the fastest printers in its price class for speed, including, for example, the Brother HL-3075CW and Brother HL-3045CN, while also delivering better quality overall than most. Paper handling is on the meagre side, but the printer pretty much matches its direct competition on that score too, and the 250-sheet capacity should be enough for most small offices. If you need more, however, there are no upgrades options available, which mean you'll have to look elsewhere.
Setup, Speed, and Output Quality
One of the issues that make this printer more appropriate for a micro or small office than for a home office is its size and weight. At 10.4 by 16.5 by 16.8 inches (HWD), you might not want it sitting on your desk, and at 36.6 pounds, you might want some help moving it into place. However, it's small enough so you shouldn't have much trouble finding room for it. Once in place, setup is standard fare.
For my tests, I connected the CLP-415NW to a wired network and installed the driver on a Windows Vista system. On our business applications suite (timed with QualityLogic's hardware and software) it came in at 6.0 pages per minute (ppm), which is a reasonable speed for the rated 19 ppm for both colour and mono and is essentially tied with both the Brother HL-3045CN and the Brother HL-3075CW.
What makes the fast speed even more impressive is that the output quality doesn't suffer. Where Brother printers deliver slightly subpar output overall, the CLP-415NW's overall output quality is above par.
Text is not quite suitable for top-quality desktop publishing, but it's easily good enough for almost anything else, including marketing materials like one-page mailers or trifold brochures. Graphics quality is also good enough for basic marketing materials, and more than good enough for PowerPoint hand-outs and the like. Photos are at the high end of the range for colour lasers, which is just short of true photo quality. Mount any of the colour photos in our tests in a frame behind glass, and it would be hard to tell they were printed on a laser. Here again, that makes them easily good enough for printing your own marketing materials.
One other small feature worth mention is an oddball single-sheet feed mounted on top of the paper tray itself. To use it, you have to pull the tray out, insert the single sheet in the feeder, and then put the tray back in. The process is a little clumsy, but still easier than swapping out all the paper in the tray to print a single envelope or odd-size sheet of paper, and then having to put the original stack of paper back in.
Conveniences like the single sheet feed and Wi-Fi Direct for easy connection to smartphones and other mobile devices earn a few extra points for the printer, but its key strengths are its fast speed and high quality output. If it delivered only one or the other along with its level of paper handling, it would be worth considering. What makes the Samsung CLP-415NW an Editors' Choice, however, is that it offers both, so you don't have to compromise on either.