Samsung seems to have an almost never-ending supply of strong-performing laser printers rolling off the presses. The Xpress M2070W may be a highly capable low-priced laser first and foremost, but it also finds room for one or two highly intriguing features. Perhaps the most meaningful of these, at least with the future in mind, is the mobile phone link. This uses NFC (Near Field Communication), a twist on the older RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, to provide a low-power link between peripherals.
The reason why NFC could become so significant, is because it offers an extremely simple means of identifying ourselves. Relaying the details of the SIM card in your mobile phone, this will create a future where we can buy just about anything without even needing a credit card.
Of course, its function here is rather more prosaic, allowing the M2070W to hook up flawlessly to our phone. The app was easy to get up and running, and our test with a suitable phone (albeit itself a Samsung model!) produced near-instant results. You simply tap the phone on the top of the MFD, and a secure connection is made almost instantaneously. You can expect to hear a lot more of NFC in the future. As far as this model goes, though, you need merely to know that it works very smoothly.
The M2070W doesn't look so innovative in terms of design. It's a multifunction device, and the dark grey scanning component sits rather inelegantly on the top of the cream body. The control panel is colourful, if brief. In truth, setting up the Samsung is pretty straightforward, and you'll probably have little need to go through the text menu system. You do get the usual supply of extra Samsung functions, and the paper saving mode has been nicely tweaked. You now get the option of looking at a simulation of the document, and can opt to strip out unwanted elements, like images, lines, and text, before initiating print. As a way of saving paper, this is fast and relatively painless. We can't see the typical user wanting to employ this feature on an everyday basis, but it'll certainly work well when you have a long document that you would like to cut down with little effort.
The Samsung's paper handling is fairly commonplace for a printer at this price point. 150 sheets isn't an amazing capacity, but it'll suffice. In other areas, the M2070W fares better. 128MB of memory is a healthy complement, and the printer will have no problems manipulating image-soaked documents. Its 1200x1200dpi resolution is finely focused, and the 600MHz Cortex A5 is a notch above the typical processor found in similarly-priced models. Connectivity is fairly good. Not only do you have the NFC tool for working with a mobile phone, but there's also a wireless 802.11b/g/n interface. No ethernet though.
Scanning is well handled, with the Samsung able to produce A4 image in 10 and 32 seconds at resolutions of 300dpi and 600dpi respectively. (8 and 22s for a photo.) Resulting pictures are accurate and realistically shaded. Printing is impressive. We got speeds of up to 17.1 pages per minute at high resolution from the fast processor. There aren't many models at this kind of price that beat that turn of pace.
Text output is dark and crisp, and a distinct improvement on the pale characters that you sometimes get from cheaper lasers. It's maybe not the best at graphics, and our grayscale tests revealed a rather limited range of shades. Nonetheless, it'll make an adequate job of PowerPoint presentations. For anything a little more advanced, you'll probably want a colour model in any case. One rather glaring omission is auto duplexing. With such a good basic pace, you would have thought that a duplexing speed of around 10ppm would have been possible, and that would have fitted in nicely with the Samsung's other eco-credentials. Sadly, though, no such feature is forthcoming.
One more slight concern is the cost of running this model. At £38 for a 1000-page toner cartridge, this has a fairly high cost per page of 3.8p. We'd really like to see this below the 3p mark. It has to be said, though, that many mono lasers are surprisingly expensive in this regard - colour lasers, strangely, will often have lower running costs, even on mono text. Given the excellent eco mode, we suspect this model will still produce low rates for users who're prepared to spend a little time taking out elements of documents that they don't need to print.
The M2070W doesn't look as polished as we'd like, and the absence of auto duplexing is surprising. Running costs are also a little high. In almost all other respects, though, the M2070W is excellent. The NFC facilities are the cherry on top of a rather delicious cake of specifications and features. Despite the cost per page, this is arguably the most complete mono MFD on the market.