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8/10

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Brother HL-2700CN - Colour Laser Printer

Colour laser printers are already taking over in many offices from their mono counterparts, with the average purchase price dropping. It’s not exaggerating to say that a colour laser of the specification of Brother’s HL-2700CN would have cost eight to ten times its current price just a few years ago. But how does it perform?

This is a big printer, though only printing up to A4, and is probably better installed on its own stand or table, than sat on the end of an office desk. Paper feeds from a surprisingly low capacity, 250 sheet paper tray at the bottom onto the printer’s top surface. There’s no single sheet feed for special media and you have to manually select for paper thicker than 90gsm, though the printer will take up to 210gsm.

Set in at front left is a control panel of six buttons, with a two-line by 16-character LCD display, which includes a crude level indicator for each of the four toners. Although the display is clearer than some, it could still do with a back-light.

The front, top and side panels all fold out for access to the internal mechanism and an optional duplex unit can be attached to the back to provide two-sided printing. A second paper tray, with a capacity of 530 sheets, can be fitted underneath.

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Inside, the printer uses a vertically mounted OPC belt, rather than a drum, with a set of four toner cartridges lined up one above the other in front of it. This makes them very easy to access and replacement of belt and cartridges is a doddle.

Physical set-up is straightforward, but involves quite a lot of releasing of spacers and pulling of protective tapes. The four toner cartridges are supplied in situ, but have to be removed so you can pull off their plastic covers, before being re-inserted. This is still simpler than having them separately packaged, though.

The printer has three connections: USB 2.0, parallel and wired Ethernet. You can connect each or all to PCs, making the HL-2700CN a good candidate for a small workgroup. Software installation is simple enough, with the Brother driver and the BRAdmin Pro applet providing good control of the printer’s facilities.

These include watermarks and overprints and the ability to scale pages on the paper. There’s no multi-page per sheet facility, though, and duplex only comes as a £200-plus optional extra. The HL-2700CN has a native resolution of 600dpi, but Brother claims ‘2,400dpi class’ printing, using CAPT technology.

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