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Brother HL-4040CN - Brother HL-4040CN

By Simon Williams



Our Score:


User Score:

There's not a lot of software supplied with the printer and none of the extras, which are provided with the DCP-9040CN, such as Brother's Postscript clone, BRScript. The driver includes support for watermarks and multiple pages per sheet, but not overprinting.

The HL-4040CN took 22 seconds to print our five-page black text document, equivalent to a speed of 13.6ppm. Although that's not close to the rated 20ppm, it's better than some colour laser printers we tested recently. The text and colour graphics pages took 32 seconds to complete, a speed of the 9.4ppm, though the printer's again rated at 20ppm. These figures mean that this Brother machine is not particularly quick for its class.

Print quality is variable. Black text is cleanly printed with no noticeable malformations of characters or lines. Colour graphics are also good, with lines coming out smooth and clean, though there's a slight banding in some areas of colour fill. Photographic output is not so good, with a comparatively small gamut restricting the accuracy of colour rendition.

You can see the difference between the default 600dpi of the printer's Normal mode and the 1,200dpi of its Fine mode. While Fine mode reproduces shaded colour, such as areas of sky, better than Normal mode, it doesn't do so well with darker detail, in shadowed areas.

While this is generally a quiet machine, measured noise level peaked at just over 60dBA, suggesting it's noisier than it feels.

Running costs on this machine are made up from a number of components. As well as the four toner cartridges, which are available in low and high capacities, there's a drum, a belt and a toner waste bottle, each of which has different usage rates.

Using the higher-yield toner cartridges gives 5,000 pages of black print and 4,000 pages of each colour. These usages return costs per page of 2.50p and 8.32p, respectively for 5 per cent black and 20 per cent colour pages. This makes the HL-4040CN a bit expensive on black print and inexpensive on colour, but with a typical mix in an office environment, overall it's a little higher than average.


There are definite good and bad points to the HL-4040CN. The reprint and direct print functions are things we've long looked for on business printers, as they are simple to implement and very helpful to the customer. On the other hand, its lack of expandability and only average print quality count against the machine. It should be on your shortlist, but only along with representatives of its major competitors.


October 14, 2008, 6:25 pm

I am the first to say I am not a computer expert, so I thought I would have problems... and I did. This is my first Laser Jet printer. I have always used an Epson Ink Jet Printer. With the Epson, I can print anything. Just click on contol, print and enter. No such luck with the Brother 4040CN Printer. First of all, I can not print a Word Document, like I can with Epson, nor can I print from ACDSee. I get a message that says to save a *.xps format. When I click on 'save' nothing happens.

I have a new 3 month old computer with a Vista operating system

So I look for customer support.

Try and find that is also not an easy task, and I never did find any help.

So now I have a very nice new Laser Brother printer that only prints out a test page.

Fortunately I kept my Epson printer so I can still print anything and everything.

I researched for two months trying to buy a good printer, and I must say, there is a lot of useless help out there.

The botom line I was looking for was and is, what is an economical printer to have.

I am sick and tired of being manipulated by Internet people that spin stories about products.

It has an automatic reprint of the last job. Who really cares about 'that'.

I just want an 'economical to operate' printer.

Everyone knows printer companies make their fortunes on ink or toner, and so they deep discount the printer.

Finally, I took a chance and decided on the Brother 4040 CN Laser Jet printer, only because it was new and I could not get any real information about it. It prints many pages a minute, is a little noisy, and uses 550 watts of power to operate, and other details, that matter little.

Included in the hardware package when you buy the computer is a connection wire that has a USB connector on one end, and another end that does not connect to the printer. The printer has a USB connection inlet. But the wire supplied does not hae a USB connection on both ends.

Probably if I was a super detective I could really find out what I am looking for. But I did not. I found out everything else, but not a comparison cost to operate. So I bought it anyway, installed the software in my computer, and that was the end of my forward progress.

So, it is NOT so easy to set up as all the reviews suggested, and not so easy to find support.

I am sure some skilled computer navigator will criticize me for my lack of knowledge, and my reply would be, write a better detailed installation direction for people like me.

So, until I find more information, I will continue to use my Epson ink jet printer.

Just click on 'control'and 'p' and 'enter' and you have a nice print.

The Brother 4040CN printer does however, look nice.

Mike Suther

July 16, 2010, 4:36 pm

just as a word of note, the person that wrote the previous review obviously cannot read an instruction book as in the first few pages it explains how to set up the printer in baby speak. as printers go this is a very simple and straight forward machine. As with anything new the temptation is to assume you can setup a high quality piece of equipment that you know nothing about without reading the instruction book. if you want to get the best out of any product it helps to read an instruction book. As the previous reviewer wrote it comes with a USB cable that is designed to fit in the b fitting found on the machine just where the instruction book said it was, as for the USB port on the front of the unit this is used for direct print from a camera or a USB stick. the print quality of this printer is superb, it is crisp and clear which is the most important thing, althought this model does not come with auto duplexing the model above does but you pay for it, you can manual duplex. it is worth remembering that this is the base model of this paticular type of printer. it is a robust unit that is designed to be the work horse of any small to medium office. the networking makes it an ideal choice. I use mine at home shared between me and my wife. i use windows 7 64 bit where as my wife uses win vista 32 bit. At the end of the day if you use high yield cartridges it will last a long time. I understand that the previous reviewer had issues but i found the comments to be very annoying as many of the comments made were down to lack of knowledge, as for contacting brother, there are two ways one is using the driver disc that comes with the printer or go to the support page on the Brother web site. If i had to give a score out of 5 I would give it 5+ as it is very reliable and very good quality output. At the end of the day you have two reviews one that contradicts the other all I can say is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but please do not judge a printer on the review of someone who has not been bothered to read the basic instruction book.


September 17, 2010, 3:29 pm

I too had no issues connecting this up. I have it plugged into a wireless bridge and once it was up I set a permanent IP address and reconnected.

Drivers and packages into Windows 7 64 bit no problems, drivers for Linux again no issues and it was the latter that led me to buy this printer (£200 at the time of purchase) and also it comes with 1500 page cartridges.

Issues, colour prints can look washed out but that can be sorted by setting colour settings to vivid or normal rather than auto (by default I leave it to lower settings). Then printing went a tad odd with colour balance off. Brother support excellent, ran through some diagnostics and sent them some test prints. They sent back a new magenta cartridge and problem solved.

To summarise, this is a great printer that works in Linux with great output and a super starter set. (At the time of writing Brother has a £75 pound cash back.) Replacement bits are costly but at the prices you can find online you can probably simply replace the printer.

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