The HL-4150CDN and its sibling printers represent Brother’s first move into the workgroup colour laser printer market, where they're up against major names, such as HP, the market leader. A newcomer has to offer some obvious advantages to cut a niche in this crowded sector.
Brother is obviously going for the solid, reliable look with the HL-4150CDN. The cream and black case is pretty close to cuboid, apart from a slight backwards lean to the front panel. It’s a substantial presence on a desk.
The control panel sits to the left of the paper output slot on the printer's top surface and includes a 2-line by 16-character backlit LCD display, which flips up to any of five positions. Controls are well laid out and include a Secure button, which can be used to retain sensitive documents for print only when you're at the machine.
There's a USB socket set into the top of the left-hand side of the front panel and this works with USB drives for direct print of documents, including JPEG, TIFF and PDF.
There's a 250-sheet paper tray fitted as standard, with a 500-sheet tray available as an option. We still feel 250 sheets is too small for a printer aimed at workgroup sales, particularly since the duty cycles on this type of machine often run into several thousand pages per month. There's a 50-sheet multi-purpose tray, which folds down from the front and compensates for the small capacity of the main tray.
At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet – there’s no wireless facility on the HL-4150CDN, though it’s available on other machines in the range. The printer comes with PCL and PostScript drivers in emulation, as well as a status monitor applet. As is pretty much the norm, Windows and OS X are supported out of the box, with Linux drivers downloadable, in this case from the Brother Solutions site.
Pull open the front panel and you can slide out a tray holding the four toner cartridges. This is a new, inline, colour laser engine, designed from the ground up, so is easy to maintain, though the printer still uses a separate drum and transfer belt. These components have service lives of 25,000 and 50,000 pages, though, so they won’t be an everyday concern.