Samsung's CLP-775ND color laser printer has power to spare for a busy workgroup, at a midrange price of $750 (as of September 21, 2011). It breaks no new ground in output quality--photos are a challenge for it, as they are for most color lasers; but aside from that, it's a printer well worth considering.
The CL-775DN can connect by USB or ethernet. Setup is easy on both PCs and Macs. The printer's driver and control panel are intuitively designed, the latter consisting of a four-line monochrome LCD and a straightforward array of navigation and selection buttons.
The CLP-775ND is ready for high-volume use. Standard features including automatic duplexing; a 500-sheet main input tray and 100-sheet multipurpose tray, accessible via a front panel; and a 350-sheet output tray. You may add tone or two bottom-mounted, 500-sheet feeder trays (CLP-S775A, for $200 each), if you need more. Overall, the unit is quite sturdily constructed. One of our few concerns with regard to the design involves the transfer belt, which is fully exposed when you open the printer's front panel to reach the toner cartridges. If you're not extremely careful, you might easily drop a cartridge on it.
Speed is a good reason to buy a CLP-775ND. Equipped with a 600MHz dual-core processor and 384MB of memory (expandable to 896MB), it printed text pages at a swift rate of 18.1 pages per minute on the PC and 17.5 ppm on the Mac--a good 3 to 4 ppm faster than the average rate posted by other printers in its class. Snapshot-size photos printed at 3.9 ppm, well above the average. The full-page, high-resolution photo we print on the Mac clocked in at 1.8 ppm, one of the fastest times we've recorded. The CLP-775ND's speed printing a PDF document with a mix of text and graphics was a middling 4.5 ppm.
While the CLP-775ND's speed stands out, its output is more pedestrian. Text looks very good, but monochrome graphics slightly less so. Color images have an orange tinge and a noticeably grainy background. The color controls available through the driver help improve the results. Among competing color lasers, the Dell 3130cn is a little slower, but less expensive and better at printing photos.
Economical toner is a highlight of the CLP-775ND. It ships with 3500-page starter cartridges. The sole replacement cartridge size has a 7000-page yield and costs $125 for black, and $182 apiece for cyan, magenta, and yellow. That works out to 1.8 cents per page for black, and 2.6 cents per page for each color. A four-color page would cost a low 9.6 cents. After 50,000 pages, you'll need to replace the transfer belt ( $200), adding 0.4 cents per page to the price of the next 50,000 pages.
The CLP-775ND is a fast color laser that is economical both initially and over time. Larger, busier workgroups may gravitate toward faster and pricier models such as the Lexmark c734dn, but the CLP-775ND should satisfy a wide swath of more mainstream offices.