Point and Print
If the thought of setting up a building of wireless printers keeps you up at night, Samsung can let you rest easily. The latest Multifunction Xpress C460FW printer is not only a snap to get connected, but offers the advantage of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology that allows people to tap their phone, tablet or notebook on the device to print.
Printing with NFC is the closest thing to magic and the left side of the printer has a sticker with the NFC chip inside. With an NFC-enabled phone, notebook or tablet, you can put what’s on the screen onto paper. It can handle everything from photos, documents and emails to Web pages and what’s on Facebook at the moment.
It all takes a second to get started. Just tap the phone or tablet to the NFC spot, pick what you want to print and confirm the selection; the Mobile Print app provides a preview of what will be printed. Samsung’s C460FW does the rest. This instant-print feature can not only simplify how teachers and students print material for school but can reduce the number of orphan prints that clutter a shared printer’s output tray. The app can also scan material, fax sheets and even print photos just taken for the closest thing to an instant camera.
The NFC capabilities of the C460FW worked like a charm with a Nexus 7 tablet, a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and a Sony VAIO Tap 20 hybrid desktop PC. I was able to print images, worksheets and Web pages as well as scan homework assignments and fax letters.
Samsung’s app not only previews what’s going to be printed on the phone's or tablet's screen, but allows you to put several pages onto a sheet, adjust the image size and advanced items like job accounting. It’s not as flexible as the choices that the printer’s PC and Mac drivers offer, but it should be more than enough.
The good news is that the app works with older networked Samsung printers, like a CLP315W, that don't have NFC. There’s an increasing number of phones, tablets and notebooks that use NFC, including a slew of phones and most new Sony VAIO models. The bad news is that Apple’s iPhones and iPads don’t have NFC.
It’s not a one trick pony because the C460FW can connect via a USB cable, WiFi, wired LAN or a phone line for faxing. There’s a second USB slot up front for putting a memory key in, but the system lacks an SD card slot for going directly from a camera to the printer.
Overall, the C460FW is quieter and faster than others in its class, and it uses less electricity so the lights won’t dim when it’s printing. Inside it has two processors, 128MB of memory and a 2,400 by 600 dot per inch laser printing engine. Samsung provides drivers for PCs, Macs and Linux computers; it can also work with Google Cloud Print.
Using a Lenovo ThinkPad notebook and a WiFi connection, the C460FW was able to deliver the first page of a print job in 13 seconds and pump out as many as 11.1 pages per minute for text. That drops to about 2 pages per minute for printing an 8- by 10-inch image, but using the NFC connection, it printed a 3-page Web site in 32 seconds.
The C460FW also has a competent 600 dot per inch (dpi) scanner that can be used on its letter-size glass platen or with its 40-sheet document feeder. The system comes with TWAIN and WIA drivers and a slew of software for scanning directly to a computer and optical character recognition. I was able to scan a stack of 10 pages at 600dpi at 4.3 pages per minute. Later I used the printer’s NFC capabilities to scan two sheets in 46 seconds.
In addition to copying in color or black and white, the C460FW has a fax machine built-in. On the downside, the printer does without a mechanical duplexer, although you can manually print on both sides of a sheet. It also requires two scanning passes to digitize both sides of the original.
At 13.1- by 16.0- by 14.3-inches, the C460FW is only slightly larger than Samsung’s CLP315W printer, but adds a scanner and tray for originals. The paper tray does stick out 4-inches, but the whole thing can easily fit on a bookshelf or a small table.
While it doesn’t have a preview screen, the C460FW includes two overlay templates for its functions in French and English. The system uses Samsung’s latest microcrystalline toner that comes in cartridges that are good for about 1,500 pages for black and 1,000 pages for the three individual colors; the machine comes with set-up cartridges that are good for only half as many pages. The imaging drum is rated at a life of 16,000 pages of black and white prints; it costs $100 and takes about two minutes to change.
All told, its consumables should cost around 6 cents per page and you can easily see how much toner remains on the system’s monochrome info screen or via Samsung’s Easy Printer Manager software . It can turn a subtle shade of green with the C460FW’s Eco setting. This reduces toner and electricity use by 20 percent and the driver keeps track of how much you’ve saved.
The system’s $399 price tag is on a par with other printers in this class, but if it’s too much Samsung also sells a printer only model (C410W) for $230. Still, the addition of NFC technology to printing takes the C460FW to a new level.
+ Fast, quiet
+ Innovative NFC technology
+ Networking built-in
+ Only slightly larger than older printer
+ Excellent app, drivers and software
+ Eco setting
- No mechanical duplexer
- Lacks an SD card slot