Brother has recently revamped its range of laser printers and all-in-ones. The HL-4040CN fits in as a high-end personal or medium-level workgroup colour laser printer, with a couple of useful extras.
The HL-4040CN is big and square cut, but maintains a modern look with inset panels of dark blue and silver. The control panel is set on the left-hand side and includes a two-line by 16-character LCD display, with a coloured backlight. This shows green, yellow or red to indicate different status conditions.
A blue panel folds down from the front of the machine to provide a 50-sheet multi-purpose tray and below this is a 250-sheet main paper feed. It's a bit disappointing there's no optional secondary tray to increase the capacity of the printer. There's no optional duplexer, either, though the print driver includes instructions for manual duplexing.
The control panel includes a couple of extra buttons, as well as the usual menu-navigation square. In fact, the four buttons in the square have been rather oddly allocated, as you move through menu options with the up and down keys, go up a level with the left-hand key and return with the right-hand one. There are advantages in sticking to the conventional approach.
Two new keys link with extra features of the printer. Reprint automatically reruns the last job that was sent to the machine, which is a big timesaver, particularly if the printer is used in an office. Security is maintained because you can send any job with a password, which is required for a reprint from the printer. Direct Print combines with the USB socket on the front of the HL-4040CN to provide prints from a USB drive or a PictBridge camera.
This printer uses the same colour laser engine as Brother's DCP-9040CN All-in-One and in fact it's the first one developed by the company. Previous colour laser offerings have been rebadged from other suppliers.
For a colour laser printer, the HL-4040CN is particularly easy to set up. Pull down the front cover, slide out the tray holding the four toner cartridges and each of them drops into position, but like putting files in a filing cabinet. It's noticeable, though, that there's no keying to prevent putting the wrong colour toner in the wrong slot. If you do this, the printer gives some very strange colour combinations.