Top critical review
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Better than M3320, but still has issues...
on January 15, 2015
This review is for the Samsung M3820DW (and the M3320ND) with some general comments about Samsung printers at the end.
After some recent disappointments with HP printers I decided to try another manufacturer. My first HP printer lasted me 15 years; that wasn't the case with my last two.
After spending a fair amount of money on my last HP I decided to look at less expensive laser printers so that I wouldn't be out a lot if something went wrong. My criteria for a small office laser printer are pretty simple - an ability to print a relatively high volume of black and white documents was most important; how the printer looks was secondary but a consideration since it sits next to my desk.
An associate of mine recently purchase a SL-C1860FW (a Samsung multifunction color laser) so I thought I would give Samsung some thought. After some comparison shopping at a few brick and mortar retailers and checking some reviews online I purchased a M3320ND. Modestly priced, simple design.
Initially I was satisfied but soon discovered that I could not print envelopes from the MP tray. Other than an LED blinking red - and no printout - the printer doesn't provide much information. After a couple of hours trying to solve the problem, including looking online for support, I called Samsung and was told that there was a potentially known problem with feeding envelopes from the MP tray. I got the sense that there was a potential fix, but I'm not sure about that.
While trying to decide if I should return the printer or try to have it repaired, I discovered another problem - I could not print legal size documents from the MP tray either. Legal documents would only partially print - essentially as though I was using letter sized paper. I spent another hour or two trying to solve that problem with no success.
So I returned it. I thought about purchasing a printer from a different manufacturer, but I decided to try the Samsung M3820DW (it was well-priced.) The difference between the M3820DW and the M3320ND, other than wireless printing, is that the M3820DW has an LED display and a manual menu system. Apparently that matters.
The M3820DW will feed envelopes from the MP tray (or at least mine does) but it still has problems printing legal documents from the MP tray.
My setup is a Windows 7 PC running MS Office 2003. In the past I have always been able to change my print settings through software - either from within the office applications or through the printer software. From what I can tell neither of those approaches will override the M3820 (or the M3320) printer settings. On the M3820 if you manually setup the printer (via the buttons on the printer) to print "letter" from the MP tray (which is the default,) changing those settings in either the office app or the printer software does no good. Not for legal, not for envelopes. Unlike the M3320 (which has no display) the M3820 displays a "MP Tray Paper Mismatch" error. So at least it gives you some idea of what the problem is.
As far as I can tell changing the printer options in the Samsung software does no good. The only way I could solve the problem is by manually changing the settings using the menu and buttons on the printer. This is cumbersome, and makes the Samsung software somewhat useless. Since the M3320 has no display and menu system, I have no idea what the workaround is. I never figured it out.
To me the Samsung software isn't very useful, despite the fact that it has lots of supposedly customizable settings and preferences. It simply doesn't do what it's supposed to do. And the user manual isn't much help. It's a generic manual for several different models and doesn't really address model specific problems, at least not in any detail. I'm relatively computer proficient. Getting a basic printer to print envelopes and legal documents should be simple, not hard.
Finally, one problem with purchasing a Samsung is the lack of online support, both on the Samsung website and on other online forums. Searching Samsung support FAQs gives zero results, and clicking on "troubleshooting" returned the message "this troubleshooting guide doesn't exist anymore." So their online support is weak. And I guess because there aren't as many Samsung printers out there as there are HP printers, you won't find much in other forums on other sites either.
I want to like this printer. The build quality seems good and price/features combination is attractive. But the software doesn't seem to work well and the online support is not good. I haven't decided if I will keep it.