Colour support is fairly basic. Although you can boost particular colours by setting custom parameters, there’s no provision for colour matching to standards like Pantone or Dai Nippon.
Colour is bit on the bright side. While it’s good for the bright primaries you find in business pie charts, it doesn’t do so well with the subtle shades you typically see in photographic images. By default, the colours aren't particularly true to on-screen shades with, for example, orange coming out very red. Colour lasers continue to have different and smaller colour gamuts from ink-jet printers, though some recent introductions do better in this area. From our tests, the HL-2700CN isn’t one of them.
Our test photo looked as if it had been retouched rather heavy-handedly, though the sample chart printed as a Brother test page looked perfectly acceptable. Black text is crisp and clean, producing well-formed characters.
Print speeds are pretty good, with our five page text print finishing in 24 seconds, a respectable 12.5ppm. Our colour test print took 22 seconds, giving under 3ppm, which is still not too bad for a colour laser in this price range.
This is not a printer for putting in a library. Even Brother quotes it at a noise level of 66dBA, when printing. We'd go along with that and add that the greatest part of the sound is a series of clunks, which sound like solenoids pulling the various toner cartridges up to the OPC belt, to lay each colour on it, in turn.
There are a lot of consumables in the HL-2700CN, most of which have different page yields and therefore have to be replaced at different frequencies. From the colour toner cartridges every 6,600 pages, to the waste toner at 12,000 pages and the OPC belt and fuser at 60,000 pages, you'll need to keep on top of supplies, if you use this printer heavily.
When you work out the costs of all these parts, this Brother is not that expensive to run, with a black text page costing just under 2.5p and a 20 per cent colour page costing around 8.5p. This is similar to other printers in the same price bracket.
The HL-2700CN looks something of a bargain, as you can buy one for under £230. Running costs are no worse than others in its class, so the only downside to this machine is that its colour is a bit garish. It's also big and rather noisy, but being fast and cheap may well outweigh any problems with over-coloured photos.