[Breaking Down Samsung's Printer] No Special Effort to Improve Print Quality [Part 4]

Nov 26, 2007
Nikkei Electronics Breakdown Team
With the scanner cover opened during scanning. The blue light indicating the head's position can be seen in the upper center. The scanner light integrated with the head was radiating red light when the photo was taken.
With the scanner cover opened during scanning. The blue light indicating the head's position can be seen in the upper center. The scanner light integrated with the head was radiating red light when the photo was taken.
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The toner cartridge. We broke it down later as well.
The toner cartridge. We broke it down later as well.
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We used a scanner to read data. First, we noticed that the side of the operation panel on the chassis' upper surface lit blue as if it was indicating the position of the scanning head. The light was synchronized with the head's motion, so we intuitively knew how far scanning had gone.

When we opened the cover over the scanner, the LED device that illuminates the document being scanned was quickly changing color. The LED was integrated with the scanner head and was changing from red to blue and green.

"It's a technology often seen in low-price printers. By making the head read data with three different color LEDs radiating in turns, manufacturers can make the scanner device small at low cost," said an engineer involved in scanner development.

Then we tried the printer. Although the driver software capabilities were basic, there was a convenient icon in the task tray that opened a window for the speedy purchase of toner cartridges.

Pricing for the "MLD1630A" toner cartridge was US$92.55 at Samsungparts.com (as of Nov 20). It is possible that the toner cartridge was also designed as slim as possible to avoid increasing the printer's thickness.

We had the printer print a chart that an engineer brought to measure print quality. The chart contained text, lines and images with a variety of widths and tones on a piece of A4 paper.

Looking at the print results, an engineer muttered, "It's not that great." Small text around 6-points and slim lines had thin spots or sometimes disappeared completely. We had the printer print an entirely black page using the scanner's copy function and pale white lines could be seen here and there.

An engineer raised a question, "Can this quality satisfy users that print out documents with a lot of lines and small-sized numbers?" Then another engineer replied, "This quality is acceptable. The product's price is only US$300. It's not a multifunction OA printer that stresses high quality and high reliability anyway."

We finished trying all of the printer's basic capabilities. Now It's time to start breaking it down at last.