Versatile Samsung multifunction printer offers good value, despite glitches

The Samsung SCX-5935FN monochrome laser multifunction printer is clearly targeted at workgroups and the small- to midsized business market.

Accordingly, the emphasis is on productivity and cost savings.

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The price for this device at Canadian retailers ranges from $1,595 (JMB Office Systems Ltd) to $1,985 (Kancho Office Equipment Ltd), and it is usually offered with a one-year parts and labour warranty.

Small business focus

The Samsung SCX-5935FN’s weighs a hefty 23.1 kgs (50,88 lbs) and its dimensions are 19.7 x 18.3 x 21.5 inches without the optional tray .

It does pack a lot of punch in this small form factor.

You can print, copy, scan, fax using this compact device and for most of these functions there’s an amazing variety of options, some of which we’ll consider in this feature.

Samsung claims this printer is “more economical to operate than other models in the market.” The device’s “user guide” (which you need to download and print from the Samsung site) lists specific “time and money” savers. These include:

  • The ability to print multiple pages on a single sheet of paper (thereby saving paper), and double-sided printing
  • A “power saver” utility that substantially reduces electricity consumption when the  machine is not in use
  • The ability to make many different kinds of copies from the same original document on a single page – 2-up or 4-up copying
  • USB support, which enables you to use the memory device in various ways with the machine: for instance, to scan documents and save them to the USB stick, or to directly print data stored on the device
  • The Samsung SCX-5935FN is also equipped with a network interface, which enables it to function as a network printer, copier and scanner

A touch screen on the LCD control panel lets you operate the some of the basic functions of the machine.

Pressing one of the four “function” buttons on the panel – Copy, Fax, Scan, or Stored Documents – takes you to the menu for that function. It’s all pretty intuitive.

After setting up the machine and connecting it to your computer, before it can be used you must install software on the included CD.

Apart from the typical drivers, the CD includes other tools, such as a PostScript printer driver (used to print document with more complex fonts and graphics), Smart Panel, a program that lets you monitor the machine’s status and alerts you to any errors, and a Direct Printing utility that lets you print PDF files directly.

Set IP can be used to set your machine’s IP address. To use this feature you connect your machine to a router using the Ethernet port and configure the TCP/IP settings.

Typically, in most offices printing and copying are the most frequently used features of a multifunction device, so those are also the ones I tested first on the Samsung SCX-5935FN.

Printing – high-versatility, average speed

The SCX-5935FN is capable of delivering 2,500 – 5,000 prints per
month, according to Samsung.

Printing speed isn’t exactly one of the notable features of the Samsung SCX-5935FN.

Still it’s adequate for what would be required by a small office printer.

For instance printing a 15-page single sided document took me 17 seconds. With double-sided printing, my experience was less satisfactory. Printing out eight pages took nearly a minute. Part of this was due to the 17-second delay for the print job to actually start from the time I hit the Print command.

When doing double-sided printing you can select a page layout based on how the printed pages will be bound.

For instance, if you intend to bind the pages you would want to check the ‘Long Edge’ option – the conventional layout used in bookbinding.

In terms of quality, when setting printer properties, you have two options: Normal or Best. For text-heavy documents Normal serves the purpose, offering you crisp, legible printing.  Use the ‘Best’ option sparingly as it will use up the toner cartridge far quicker.

The booklet printing feature is one useful options offered by this device.

The only drawback is the size of the font shrinks dramatically in booklet printing – as content typically printed on one page is now printed on half a page. So you may want to select a larger paper size than Letter or A4 when using this option.

The same is true if you choose to print multiple pages on a single sheet of paper, another option offered by this printer.

This device enables you to create large posters by sticking together the printed contents of multiple pages. Here how it works.

You set the page layout properties on the Samsung SCX-5935FN to print the contents of a single-page document on four pages (Poster 2×2 layout) nine (Poster 3×3) or 16 pages (Poster 4×4). You then specify the ‘Poster Overlap’ value in millimetres or inches – which makes it easier to paste the sheets together to create a large poster. Of course, as this is a monochrome printer you won’t get the impact that a large colour poster would offer.

Overall, I’d give the SCX-5935FN high marks for print versatility and quality.

In my tests, the device was able to handle high-volume print jobs with hardly any mishaps, such as paper jams. 

As mentioned earlier, printing speed is about average, but for a smaller firm that may not be such a huge drawback given the device’s other strong features.

Copying options galore

As a copier, the SCX-5935FN is also fairly versatile.

In addition to features found on a typical copier – such as the ability to reduce or enlarge the size of a copied image, or copy on both sides of the paper – it offers less typical, but nevertheless useful, capabilities.

There’s a Poster Copying feature that works pretty much the same way as the Poster Printing function (an image whose component parts are copied on nine separate pages can be joined together to form a large poster).

If you need to quickly create booklets for a project, the device lets you do so from a sequential set of either one-sided or two-sided originals. What’s more, it can automatically add covers to the copied booklet using stock taken from another tray.

When it comes to copying one- or two-sided originals, there’s a whole range of choices, which come in handy for a variety of copying projects.

In addition to the regular 1 -> 1 and 2 -> 2 sides copying you have several other options.

Some of these are:  1 -> 2 sided – the device scans one side of the original and prints it on both sides of the paper; 2 -> 1 sided: it scans both sides of the original and prints each of them on a separate sheet; 2 -> 1 sided, rotate side 2: both sides of the original are scanned and each side is copied on a separate sheet – but the information on the second side is rotated 180 degrees.

Here again, when using some of these specialized options I ran into speed problems. In my test, it took me 27 seconds to copy two sheets of paper using the 2 -> 1 sided, Rotate side 2 option. This is strictly copying time (I’m not including the time it took to replace the first original sheet with the second on the scanner glass).

My overall observations on the copying functionality are the same – if you’re willing to put up with average copying speeds, the variety of copying options and general reliability of output make this a good option for a small business.

Scan – quality and variety

One compelling feature is the breadth of scanning options available on the SCX-5935FN.

The ability to scan documents from the control panel on the machine itself is feature that many information workers will find attractive.

Scanned data is transmitted and stored to the My Document folder of connected computers through the Samsung Scan Manager that’s installed on your computer, along with the other software in the supplied CD.

The first thing that struck me about the scanned images was their quality.

For instance, I scanned a magazine image depicting white flowers surrounded by muted green foliage.  

The scanned image – which opened up in my default picture editing application — Microsoft Office Picture Manager – looked even more beautiful that the original, with all the colours attractively reproduced and differentiated, right down to the dew droplets on the flowers.

On the device itselfy you can select the resolution of the scanned image, choosing anything from 75 to 600 dots per inch (dpi) – the default is 300 dpi.  

The scanning process took 43 seconds — from the time I pressed the start button on the Samsung MFP to when the image opened up on my PC.

From a speed perspective, that’s not great, but the sharpness and quality of the scanned images more than compensated.

Using SmarThru Office, the accompanying software for this machine, is supposed to give you more granular control over the scanning process.

The program, the user guide tells you, can be accessed and used via a local or a network connection. Theoretically, SmarThru allows you to considerably enhance the quality of your scanned image by selecting resolution of up to 4,800 dpi. You can also select from a range of scan sizes. There are settings for scan size, paper source and more.

There was one big problem when I tried using this application though – it didn’t work.

I got Error Messages each time I tried scanning documents using SmarThru on my desktop PC (running Windows XP). Re-installing the program was no help. I then loaded the program on another PC running Windows Vista and connected it to the device, but got the same error messages.


For small or mid-sized firms that do a fair amount of black-and-white printing and copying and are looking for quality at a reaonsable price, the Samsung SCX-5935FN multifunction printer is a good option.

The device offers a very broad range of features and options for each of its functions. The quality of its output – prints, copies or scanned images – was also very good.

As discussed, there are issues with the SmarThru software, which Samsung needs to address.

While some smaller shops may find the price range ($1,595 $1,985) too high, firms that require a truly versatile multi-function device will be well served by the Samsung SCX-5935FN.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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