Brother’s HL-L8350CDW is a colour laser printer aimed at small businesses and workgroups. Brother says it’ll print 28 mono or colour pages per minute (ppm), and recommends a monthly duty of up to 4,000 pages. There’s support for wired and wireless networks, business-friendly features including delayed and secure printing, and direct printing via a front-mounted USB port. Duplex (double-sided) printing is included, and you can upgrade the standard 250-sheet tray with an additional 500 page unit, although we couldn’t find a price for this at the time of our review.
This printer is a bit bigger than some cheaper home colour lasers, but it looks smart. A two-line backlit LCD display is built into the top panel, along with a few simple controls. As with many modern printers there’s only a ‘soft’ off button. We prefer a physical power switch, but we couldn’t measure any power use with the printer in soft power off mode. The printer’s input tray seems good enough, but its 50-page multipurpose feed clatters as you open it and doesn’t feel pleasant.
The HL-L8350CDW prints out an almost useless status page when you first connect it to a wireless network, and it doesn’t show the IP address that the printer has leased. This annoying, as the IP address would help those who need to access its web administration interface. This gripe aside, it’s easy to get started with the HL-L8350CDW. Brother’s driver for this printer is easy to use, but it seemed slow to prepare print jobs. The first page of colour or mono print jobs took 17 seconds to appear, but the remainder of jobs emerged quickly with no hesitations. Our mono text test appeared at 24.6ppm, with our more demanding mixed colour test slowing things to a still-impressive 21.8ppm.
Brother’s easy and comprehensive print driver is one of the best
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the HL-L8350CDW isn’t too expensive to run. The printer’s four toners are available in super-high-yield versions rated for 6,000 pages each, while there’s a drum unit rated at 25,000 pages and waste and belt units good for 50,000 pages. Factoring all of these in, print costs should be around 1.6p in black only and 7.1p in colour. While the former isn’t great, the latter is competitive. Where cost is a priority, however, we should point out that a good business inkjet should still prove much cheaper to run.
Like the print driver, Brother’s web admin interface is simple
There’s nothing amiss with this printer’s black text quality, but we weren’t overly impressed by its colour graphics, which exhibited some rather coarse half-toning patterns in places. Our early tests also showed a slight alignment problem with the red and blue images, but running a registration from the control panel corrected this automatically. Overall, though, this printer combines decent speed and quality with competitive running costs, making it a good choice for a small firm.