Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fabulous Printer - O, Brother!

I'm really going to miss the Brother Printer we agreed to review back in November. Our two-month test drive has come to a close for the Brother HL-4070CDW, a full-colour laser printer with a built-in duplexing unit and we will soon be boxing it back up.


Unpacking and setting up the printer was relatively easy -- the hardest part was following the 1-2-3 instructions for loading the toner because the label for step 3 was inside the printer! However, once that was done, it was pretty straightforward to set up on the network and install the drivers on our computers (Acer laptops running Windows XP). We sent the first print page within a couple of hours of unpacking the printer.

Over the past two months I have printed craft and knitting patterns, Coffee Haiku innards (which required some tinkering with the duplexing settings), CuppaJoe Cozy tags (on cardstock), photos, business cards, articles, documents and more. Overall, the printer was fast, relatively quiet, and clean (bear with me, I am used to smudgy ink jets). I wasn't happy with the quality of the photos -- primarily the flatness of the colours -- but at least they printed without any trouble. For the odd quick photo this printer would be OK but I would not recommend using it as a primary photo-printer.

The only thing that prompted me to curse loudly was printing the CuppaJoe Cozy tags; the cardstock would not go through the duplexing unit and it took me some searching to figure out which panel I needed to open to remove the jam... and the subsequent jams (I tried several times). It's possible that it says something in the user guide about the maximum paper weight for duplexing but I didn't read it. That said, just having a duplexing unit in a home printer was a huge time-saver (not to mention paper-saver) and it is probably the one feature I will miss the most.

The HL-4070 retails for about CDN$650/US$500 and for a small business or home-based business it would be a front-runner if not my first choice; from forms with itty-bitty small print to full colour brochures and reports, this machine performs without complaint. For the average home users it's probably overkill.... but we aren't average, and I really want one of these.


UPDATE - Feb 2008

After waiting to find out how to ship this huge printer back to Brother, we were told that we were going to be given the option to keep it -- our response was, of course, "Yes, please" and so it continues to crank away many, many pages of printed matter (surprisingly, we have barely dented the "consumables" -- toner is still over 90%). After years of cursing at ink-jets and other lesser printers, the Brother HL-4070 CDW continues to be a real treat to use, so I am very thankful to be able to keep it in our fabulous home.

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At 1/18/2008 9:05 AM, Blogger Darren Barefoot said...

Thanks for the write-up!


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