Like Tris Hussey, I received a comic from Darren Barefoot back in November with an offer to review a new Brother color laser printer. Unlike Tris, I am really late with my review! In any case, I jumped at the chance and have had the printer for a couple months now.
There were a few options to choose from (all part of the new color laser lineup) but it was an easy decision for me – the Brother HL-4070CDW has wireless connectivity! So that’s the one I received.
My first impression was "wow, where the heck am I going to put that?" The printer is gigantic, as is the box it came in. We’re talking 75 pounds of printer. It was immediately clear that this is a business printer, not a consumer one. It has been sitting on my kitchen table ever since. But because it’s wireless, I have been using it!
Setup took me quite a while, but it was no fault of the printer. I didn’t have a network cable long enough to go from the kitchen table to the router, nor did I have long enough USB or parallel cables (isn’t that odd, that a fancy new printer with wireless still has a parallel port? because it’s for "business" I guess). And while I have the popular Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G router, it’s one of the earliest revisions, so it doesn’t have the "SecureEasySetup" feature. That left me with some complicated wireless notebook setup routine, or entering the details manually via the LCD and buttons on the printer itself. I opted for the latter, and eventually got it working. I think an improvement would be some sort of USB-key support, where the installer on my computer would copy something to a USB-key that I could plug into the printer for setup.
I despise installing printer software, but the setup for this printer was pretty painless actually. No problems, and it didn’t install a bunch of unwanted crap. I think I’ve had a few too many horrible experiences with HP software, and that has left a bad taste. Fortunately Brother decided to keep it simple.
Oh yeah I had to stick in the toner cartridges too, but that was really easy. New printers these days are pretty idiot-proof with the labels and tape that must be removed, and the cartridges themselves clicked nicely into place. They sent me the standard yield cartridges which can print 2500 black and white copies, and 1500 color. The high yield cartridges bump that up to 5000 black and white, 4000 color.
Now for the actual printing! Bottom line – the quality is superb. The color pages I have printed look wonderful, with really sharp, bright colors. The black and white pages are good too, nice and crisp. My main complaint applies to all laser printers – I hate how the pages are curved! Because of the heat used during the printing, the pages don’t really lie flat, they curve with the shape of the printer. Not a deal-breaker, but you don’t have that problem with an inkjet. I didn’t do an official timing, but printing black and white pages full of text seems pretty close to the advertised 21 pages per minute.
I’ve used laser printers before, and there’s one problem I’ve always had – paper jams! That’s all I can remember about the laser printers of the past. Fortunately, I haven’t had any paper jams with this printer. I have even stuck thick paper (like the greeting card quality) on top of normal paper in the tray without any problems.
How about the wireless? No surprise here – I absolutely love the ability to print wirelessly! It’s just so useful. Whenever I can cut a cord I will. It gives you more flexibility about where you can put the printer too. The printer has a sleep mode, which it goes into after a period of inactivity, but it wakes up when I send a job, even wirelessly (which I guess is obvious, but still seemed somewhat surprising for some reason).
As I said, this printer isn’t meant for the home user. It’s big, heavy, and expensive (MSRP $629.99 CDN). That said, it’s a wonderful printer for business users. Cartridges cost about $85 for standard yield, and $160 for high yield. That’s probably quite a bit more cost-effective than an inkjet. Business users who need to take advantage of the wireless capabilities should especially check this printer out. If I was doing a lot of color printing in an office setting, the Brother HL-4070CDW would definitely be on my list of printers to consider.