12 Color Laser Printers Explored

Samsung CLX-3160FN All-in-One

The CLX-3160FN was only one of two multi-function devices to make our list of color laser printers, motivated primarily by its functions and capabilities, as well as its $520-$550 street price. For just a little bit more money than a low-end color laser that only prints, you get a device that also copies and faxes as well, and that provides some interesting image manipulation capabilities to boot: reduce/enlarge, multi-way copies, posterization, scanning, and more. You even get a USB PictBridge connector on this printer, so suitably equipped digital camcorders and cameras can transfer images directly to the printer for output. The same port may be used to back up the printer's configuration and settings to a USB Flash drive, which we think is a very nice and uncommon feature.

The standard cube profile is broken up a little by the paper handler on top of the CLX-3160FN.

This much capability at such a low price inevitably comes with a downside, and for the CLX-3160FN, that includes slow color output speed. Though this unit prints at a tolerable 17 ppm for black-and-white pages, it slows down to a maximum of 4 ppm for color pages. For all that, it does a good job with all kinds of output, and even produces decent looking photo and high-resolution artwork prints. Paper handling capacity is also somewhat limited with a 150-sheet paper tray and page-at-a-time manual feed, along with a 50 sheet automatic document feeder. The unit comes equipped with 128 MB RAM, and doesn't include a slot to add more RAM.

Consumables come in several forms: black toner is available in a 2000-page cartridge that goes for $60, while CMY toner comes in 1000-page cartridges that cost $50 each. Various bundles are available at differing discounts, but we found no evidence of high-capacity or high-yield cartridge options, as for most of the other color laser printers covered here.

The CLX-3160FN is average in size for a color laser printer, despite its MFC capabilities. Its dimensions are 19.1" x 18.3" x 16.9" (48.5 cm x 46.5 cm x 42.9 cm), and it weighs 45.2 lbs (20.5 kg). An additional 250-sheet paper cassette is available for the unit if you want to increase its modest paper capacity. If you can live with this unit's slow color output speed, you'll find that it otherwise makes a very good personal color MFC laser printer, and is also well-suited for SOHO or small workgroup use.

  • gorbehnare
    I was kind of disappointed to see this article completely ignores that these printers employ different Colour Laser printing technologies. In terms of the cost of ownership and cost of print per page different technologies make a huge difference.

    This information can be found anywhere and this article is only good as a list of products that are available in the market and nothing more.
  • exceltoner
    Thank you for info. Do you know if this printer is compatible with a Mac?

    toner cartridge
  • I Have owned the Dell 3110cn Printer for about 7 years and it has been the best, most trouble free piece of hardware I have ever purchased. I was completely fed up with dealing with clogged up inkjet printheads, and walking around with purple hands. I bought the Dell Laser for around $379.00 and the only thing that I have replaced are the toner carts, of which I am on my third set. This Printer is bullet proof, and as a bonus it prints very acceptable color photos in high quality mode. Mine has paid for itself over and over and over with zero problems.