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PERFORMANCE & NOISE
The MFP SCX-4216F was placed on a steel office desk in the SPCR test room, a converted kitchen measuring 10' x 10' with an 8' ceiling and very lively acoustics. Environmental conditions during testing were 23 degrees C. temperature and 28~32 dBA background noise.
The noise measurements were made using a highly accurate calibrated B&K model 1613 sound level meter on temporary loan from the University of BC's acoustics lab.
This professional caliber SLM dates back to 1978, weighs over 10 pounds, and is completely analog in design. It has a dynamic range that spans over 140 dB. The microphone used has a 1" diaphragm that's very responsive to low sound levels and low frequencies. The unit's absolute sensitivity reaches below 0 dBA -- at one point in the midband (1kHz) I was seeing -4 dBA for background noise in the UBC anechoic chamber.
Upon turn-on, the MFP SCX-4216F goes through a self-diagnostic check and warm-up that takes about half a minute to complete. During this time, the maximum noise level measured 58 dBA at 1 meter. Overall, one would have to say it was fairly loud.
In idle, a small fan on the right side can be heard running. The exhaust vent of this fan is visible in the photo above of the side handle. It is a somewhat high pitched noise which was measured at ~38 dBA @ 1 meter. The fan turns off when the machine goes into sleep mode. It is completely silent in this mode.
Printing speed at standard resolution was tested with a 38 page PDF document. Starting from sleep mode, through warm-up, the final sheet was printed 2 minutes and 52 seconds later. It took nearly 40 seconds to print the first page. That works out to 13.35 pages per minute, including the warm up time.
From idle, the same 38 page document was printed in 2 minutes and 14 seconds, which meets the 17 letter sheet ppm speed specified by Samsung. When printing is initiated while the MFP SCX-4216F is in idle rather than sleep, then the length of time that it takes to print the first page drops to as little as 5 seconds. The file size / page length and the time it takes to transfer the file into printer memory appears to be the main determinant of first page print time. For example, an 11 page document was printed in less than 50 seconds, with the first page output in about 12-13 seconds.
During printing, the noise emitted by the MFP SCX-4216F measured in the 50 dBA range. The maximum noise recorded was ~56 dBA @ 1 meter.
The quality of the output was generally sharp and clear. The Toner Save mode is said to reduce toner consumption by 40%. The output on this setting was judged to be very slightly wispier on text, and somewhat coarser on photos. It seems good enough that the Toner Save mode could be used for most purposes.
The normal print output was compared to the output on identical average quality plain paper from a HP 4050N network laser printer approximately 3 years old. This HP is long discontinued, had a retail price about 3 times that of the Samsung, and has a top resolution of 1200 dpi. It is also a single purpose printer, not a multifunction. In other words, it was a patently unfair comparison. Not surprisingly, the Samsung did not quite match the quality of output from the HP, but it held its own on text, which was very close in sharpness, contrast and legibility. Images fell short of the HP's quality, but when judged by themselves, were perfectly acceptable.
Printing from faxes, the quality was entirely limited by that of the fax medium, which is inherently low.
The scanner functions in the MFP SCX-4216F software are fairly extensive. Rather than catalog them all, screen captures of the control panels tell the story more quickly:
The available options in Scan Wizard are very clear. The Scan to OCR function is quite impressive -- a single button press scans the document and applies OCR to it in. Your intervention is required only to specify where you want the OCR'd document saved! The resolution limits of the scanner are 600 dpi / 24-bit.
The quality of image scans is good, but no attempt was made to do a thorough analysis. It is perfectly good for routine office or web work. Anyone seeking to do serious electronic publishing for offset printing would probably be advised to seek a dedicated stand-alone scanner.
Scanned images are managed via the Image Manager portion of this software. A screen capture is shown below. Again options are very clear and simple.
The fax functions worked fine in stand-alone mode and from the local computer. Not being a connoisseur of fax machines, I cannot say whether this one is better or worse than other plain paper fax machines. It certainly worked fine without glitches.
I did not have time to test out all the remote fax functions from another networked computer, but it looks like the software is quite capable and should work fine. Here is a screenshot of that software.
Copying functions worked efficiently and quickly. The scanner appears to be set to B&W mode, the print to 300 dpi. Using the auto-feeder, the copy speed did not quite reach the specified speed, which is said to be the same as the printing speed of 17 ppm. This might be so with multiple copies of a single sheet, but the speed for single copies of 5 sheets was approximate 35 seconds, which still seems fast enough for most purposes.
The Samsung Laser MFP SCX-4216F is an efficient workhorse. With features comparable to those found in midrange single-function devices, the Samsung provides excellent printing and photocopying, and its scanning and fax features are also good. The integrated automatic sheet feeder is a very nice feature and the 600 dpi laser engine provides a high level of sharpness and resolution. This machine and its accompanying software shows clever ergonomic thinking that is impressive. It is also quite user friendly.
From the point of view of noise, during printing, it was as expected -- noisy, like most machines, including the reference 3X priced HP-4050N. The complete silence during sleep was also expected. The 38 dBA @ 1 meter noise of the whirring fan in idle was a bit annoying to me, but I admit being spoiled by the expensive HP printer, whose fan comes only only during printing. In a normal office environment it is unlikely to be an issue. Also, the MFP SCX-4216F goes into sleep mode in about 2-3 minutes, so if it is not being used, it will quickly become silent. (Silence fanatics will probably find a way to reduce the noise of this fan anyway...)
One of the best features is the front center location of the output tray, both completely out of the way, yet instantly and easily accessible. Many similar devices have trays that protrude quite far from the main body of the machine, making them occupy a lot more room than they appear to. The easy of access to the toner and paper tray in the front is also laudable.
Recommended for small offices and home offices.
Our thanks to Samsung Canada for the MFP SCX-4216F review sample and for their kind support.
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