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Brother HL-2035 review

Verdict:

Review Date: 21 Nov 2008

Price when reviewed: £57

Supplier: http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

User Rating 5 stars out of 5

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Brother's inexpensive HL-2035 mono laser printer isn't much to look at, but it's small enough to fit easily on most desks.

It has a USB port, but no support for either wired or wireless networking, so you'll have to set up your PC as a print server - or buy a separate one - if you want to share the HL-2035 with other computers. This host-based printer doesn't support the PCL or PostScript printer control languages. Your documents are processed by the driver on your PC, rather than the printer. Fortunately, drivers are available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

It's difficult to judge the power consumption of a laser printer during printing, as there are peaks and troughs in the amounts used. We've listed an average figure of 549W while printing, but its actual power consumption went as low as 74W and, at times, up to over 900W, which is unusually high for a compact mono laser; it compares poorly to Brother's quoted maximum figure of under 450W.

Most personal mono laser printers take toner cartridges with an integrated Optical PhotoConductor (OPC) drum. This one, like most of Brother's printers, takes separate drum and toner cartridges. This makes page costs lower in the short term, if you don't use the printer heavily. In this case, a mono page adds up to just 1.9p. However, the drum has to be replaced every 12,000 pages, which adds an extra 0.4p to the cost of each page, making a total of 2.3p. You can buy a 1,500-page replacement toner cartridge for around £28, with a drum costing £53 including VAT.

The HL-2035 has a rapid print speed of 16.7ppm for both text and image-heavy greyscale documents at the standard resolution of 600x600dpi. The printer also has an HQ1200 setting, with an enhanced resolution of 2,400x600dpi. Although this kind of image enhancement can't always increase print quality, it did produce a visible improvement to fine lines. In addition, the 5pt characters in our small font test were sharper and easier to read. Larger fonts looked perfect, even at 600dpi.

Greyscale images had excellent contrast and were very clear. However, they suffered from poor shading that gave many of our graphs and photos a banded effect, although the solid tones of most business illustrations didn't suffer.

At just £57 including VAT, the HL-2035 is strong competition for Canon's i-Sensys LBP2900B. Despite its quick print speed, the HL-2035 falls short with its relatively high long-term print costs and poor handling of greyscale shading. Still, if fast prints and a low initial price are your main priorities, this little printer is a good choice.

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