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We tested the duplex print speed and completed our 10-page, 20-side test piece in 1 minute 41 seconds, a speed of around 12 sides per minute; again, more than reasonable.
Brother offers two high quality print options: a true 1,200dpi print and another called HQ 1200. The HQ 1200 option uses resolution enhancement to achieve a 1,200dpi-like print and for our 15 x 10cm photographic print, it completing in 14 seconds, four seconds less than the full 1,200dpi print.
Both photo prints suffered from some banding across areas of sky, but in general were above average, with good levels of detail, particularly in shadowed areas. Text and graphics came out well, with text being dense and with little noticeable spatter. Graphics also suffered little from the various dither patterns used to produce greyscales.
Pages feeding from the printer had a noticeable amount of page curl, so much so that the top page in the output tray would occasionally be caught by a sheet emerging from the printer. The curl reduces as the pages cool, but you may need to pick a specific laser printer paper, rather than general office stock.
Brother doesn’t quote a noise level figure and this may be because the HL-5270DN is comparatively loud. We measured it at peaks of 63dBA, while other machines in its class can be 10dBA quieter.
There are two consumables: toner and the photoconductive drum. Toner can be bought in 3,500 and 7,000, 5 per cent cover capacities and the drum should last for 25,000 sheets. This produces a cost per page of 1.62p, a good figure for a printer in this class. Maintenance is easy, though a little more fiddly than with the single-consumable printers, typified by Canon and HP. The simpler the maintenance, the quicker and cheaper it will be, of course.
You can do a direct comparison between the Brother HL-5270DN and the Lexmark 352dn, reviewed three weeks ago. This machine, even at street prices, is around £40 cheaper to buy and 0.2p per page cheaper to run. It’s a touch slower when printing, but printed output, particularly of business graphics, is of slightly higher quality. It has that useful Reprint button and overall is, in our opinion, the better buy.