Brother HL-3070CW review

26 Apr 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

The HL-3070CW is fairly good value and quite quick in colour, but its print quality – particularly in photos – is very disappointing.


single-pass colour LED, 16ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless, 250x409x466mm

Brother's LED-based HL-3070CW is one of few laser-class printers shipped without its consumables in place. Fortunately, setup is a reasonably simple job. This is a squat printer, but it's not especially pretty – its various logos and markings use a mix of fonts, and its overall appearance is somewhat old-fashioned.

For the price, though, it's a well-specified printer. There's no automatic duplexer, but it does have both wired and wireless network interfaces. The latter tends to be an expensive upgrade, so it's good to see it as standard for well under £200. There's a 250-sheet paper tray and a fold-down multipurpose feed slot, but only the memory is upgradable, from 64MB up to 576MB.

Brother HL-3070CW display

In our tests, the HL-3070CW came very close to Brother's claimed 16 pages per minute (ppm) speed in both mono and colour. At 14.1ppm, its colour output is particularly quick for a printer at this price. It's reasonably quiet, but the leading edge of each sheet tends to scrape along the slope of the output tray as it exits the printer, making an annoying grating noise. The multipurpose feed isn't marked with the correct orientation for envelopes, which the printer crumpled quite badly anyway.

We weren't impressed with the HL-3070CW's print quality, either. Black text was fine, but our black and white photo had quite pronounced banding and was too dark, with a resulting loss of detail. Colour photos suffered from a green bias that made skin tones look faintly seasick and many other subjects dull. Illustrations and other graphics were better, although the printer's dither patterns were visible in some images and colours still looked cool.

Brother HL-3070CW

Although the HL-3070CW comes with a 1,000-page starter toners and its four drums are rated for just 15,000 pages, its running costs are quite reasonable for light or medium use. Buying the printer with the toner and replacement drums necessary for 18,000 mono and 9,000 colour prints would cost less than £1,600, which is quite competitive. Printing larger volumes - which few people need to do - would soon get expensive, however.

If you can live without Wi-Fi and the quick print speeds, HP's LaserJet Pro CP1525n costs the same, produces better quality and is cheaper to run.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Maximum native print resolution 600x2,400dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution 600x2,400dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 16ppm
Quoted speed, colour A4 16ppm

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.0 33s
Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 31s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 45s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 250x409x466mm
Weight 19.5kg
Noise (in normal use) 53dB(A)
Duty cycle 25,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4, custom length up to 406.4mm
Maximum paper weight 163gsm
Standard paper inputs 2
Standard paper input capacity 251
Maximum paper inputs 2
Maximum paper input capacity 251
Duplex (code, cost if option) No


Printer technology single-pass colour LED
Language(s) PCL 6, PostScript 3
Supported operating systems Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.3.9 or greater, Linux
Standard printer memory 64MB
Maximum printer memory 576MB
Other laser features and options none

Buying Information

Price £188
Price of 2nd paper cassette N/A
Capacity of supplied black toner 1,000 pages
Capacity of supplied colour toners 1,000 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s) 15,000 pages
Estimated colour TCO - three years medium £1571.11
Estimated colour TCO - three years heavy £6334.44
Warranty one year onsite
Consumable parts and prices £17

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 31s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 45s