The Brother DCP-L2500D is an entry-level mono laser all-in-one printer aimed at the small office and home office (SOHO) crowd, with a price that will be very attractive to anybody on a tight budget. And it’s a very useful machine, with print, scan and copy facilities and the ability to print duplex pages. This category of printers continues to drop in price as a response to the faster, more flexible inkjets being launched by all printer makers…including Brother.
Decked out in dark grey and black, it has a small desktop footprint, but tapers out from bottom to top and is quite deep when you get to the scanner cover. This cover is for a Contact Image Scan (CIS) flatbed, which does a reasonable job on text and photos, but is not so good on greyscale originals.
In front of the scanner is a full-width control panel, based around a rather skimpy two-line, 16-character LCD display, without a back-light. Given the cost of an LED, it’s hard to see why all display panels can’t be fitted with one.
Below the control panel is a slot for paper output and this has a small, flip-over paper stop to catch printed pages. Below that is a flip-down cover which becomes a single-sheet paper feed for special media. At the bottom is a 250-sheet paper tray for A4 sheets.
The only data connection is a USB socket at the back – there’s no wireless or network connection, though these are available on other machines in the range. Software includes Brother’s own MFL-Pro suite and, surprisingly with such a low-cost machine, a copy of Nuance PaperPort 12SE, the document management and OCR software, which is a useful application to have.
The two-part drum and toner cartridge slides in easily from the front, once you’ve folded down the front cover. It’s a bit fiddly to install the toner cartridge into the drum section, which acts as holder, without touching either the toner-coated feed roller or the photoconductor drum, so you need to take care.
Brother rates the DCP-L2500D at 26ppm, which would be pretty impressive if we could reproduce it. However, measuring from clicking Print, in Word, to the final page appearing in the output tray gives a maximum speed of 18.8ppm, on the 20-page document. The more typical 5-page test produced 11.1ppm, less than half the rated speed.
Even so, in real terms, this is a good turn of speed for a low-cost printer. In duplex mode the machine still manages 10.6 sides per minute and a single-page copy comes through in an impressive 10 seconds. A 15 x 10cm photo on A4 takes 13s.
Brother has set the sleep time on this machine quite low, so it’s only 40s before it goes to sleep and a further 20s before slipping into deep sleep. Having the printer asleep increases the time to first page out. It’s possible to change the sleep times, but they seem a bit tight as defaults.
The printer is unusually quiet, peaking at 61dBA, making it a very agreeable tool to have beside you on the desk.
The 600dpi default resolution ensures text print quality is good, with sharp, precise characters and no sign of toner spatter. Greyscale fills are a little banded, but nothing too noticeable. Even photo reproduction is fair, though details in darker, shadowed areas have a tendency to disappear. Photocopies of greyscale fills are pretty ropey, looking very banded and monotone.
Using the high capacity toner cartridge, which is good for 2,600 pages, gives a cost per page of 3.0p, including 0.7p for paper. This is good when compared with other laser printers at similar price, and even with some inkjets.
There isn’t a lot of competition in the field at this price point. The Samsung Xpress M2070 is perhaps the best match, at around £80 and it offers a similar specification. It can’t print duplex, though, and has a more makeshift paper feed system.
The Brother DCP-L2500D is a very good, basic laser all-in-one, offering fast printing, including duplex output, at relatively low cost. While it doesn’t have many of the bells and whistles of more expensive machines, including wireless connection, if all you need is a SOHO print, copy and scan tool, you can’t go far wrong with this machine.