NEC SUPERSCRIPT 1450
Today's more affordable laser printers geared toward small workgroups are hitting the streets and putting inkjets in their place, giving consumers a choice of printers, such as Samsung's ML-6060 and NEC's SuperScript 1450. The only major difference between the ML-6060 and the SuperScript 1450 are the price and the extra bells and whistles.
Because it is priced at only $399, we really didn't know what to expect from Samsung's ML-6060. What we found was an impressive unit with sharp output and fast performance. The printer is powered by a 66MHz RISC processor and supported by 4MB of RAM. The ML-6060 also offers a 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet card as an upgrade for sharing the printer among a network, bringing it up to 68MB.
The Samsung model offers a resolution of 1200dpi with a print speed of 12ppm (pages per minute). The printer achieves this resolution through interpolation, a software process that adds pixels to the image. We were unable to confirm what the true optical resolution of this printer is, but we suspect it is 600dpi.
We printed a 30-page plain text document in two minutes, 33 seconds, which works out to be about 11.7 pages per minute -- a hair shy of Samsung's official rating of 12 ppm. Printing a 20-page document that mixed text and basic graphics slowed the printer down a second or two, but we were pleased with the unit's sharp text output and ability to handle various shades of gray: 144 shades to be exact. The Samsung ML-6060 supports Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
The NEC SuperScript 1450, priced at $499, is a bit bulkier than the Samsung but offers a few extra conveniences that may justify the higher price. The NEC's true resolution is 600dpi with support for 128 shades of gray. Purchasing the PostScript option, for an additional $129, turns this printer into a 1200dpi machine that supports 200 shades of gray.
One advantage that may sway some is the 1450's support for the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) which enables users to print documents back at the office from any place with access to the Web. Otherwise the NEC is configured exactly the same as the Samsung with a 66MHz RISC processor and 4MB of RAM (expandable to 68MB). NEC also offers a 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet card as an upgrade.
NEC rates the printer at the same 12ppm speed and our tests showed that the NEC came close enough, printing a 30-page plain text document in two minutes, 50 seconds, or about 10.5 pages per minute. Like the Samsung, NEC includes both parallel and USB ports and supports Windows and Macintosh OS.
With its low price, the Samsung ML-6060 wins this competition, with little distinction in quality or speed between the two. The NEC SuperScript 1450 has a few more advanced features, including Internet printing. Unless you need the ability to print documents back at the office from remote locations, the Samsung ML-6060 is a great choice.
Configuration: Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Macintosh; 66MHz RISC processor; 4MB of RAM (upgradeable to 68MB); 12ppm print speed; 600dpi optical resolution (1200dpi with interpolation); 550-sheet paper tray; 100-sheet multipurpose tray; parallel and USB interface; optional 10/100Base-TX network interface card and PostScript upgrade
Pros: High-quality output; fast; great price
Cons: Need to read the fine print for true resolution
Configuration: Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Macintosh; 66MHz RISC processor; 4MB of RAM (upgradeable to 68MB); 12ppm print speed; 600dpi optical resolution (1200dpi with $129 PostScript option); 550-sheet paper tray; 100-sheet multipurpose tray; parallel and USB interface; optional 10/100Base-TX network interface card
Pros: High-quality output; fast; manual duplexing; Internet printing
Cons: High price; need to read the fine print for true resolution