Mono laser printers start at under £100 and the entry-level model in Brother’s range is the HL-2130, which can be had for only a tad more than £80. For this, you get a basic, but very serviceable personal laser for the home or small office.
This is a very discreet little printer, in a light grey casing. Basically cuboid, it has large radius vertical corners front and rear, which give it a modern, if slightly busy look. The top surface has a heavily indented output tray, complete with fold-out paper stop at the front and a secondary flip-over tab further back, the only apparent function of which is to lift the output paper stack for easier handling.
To the left of the output tray is a simple control panel, comprising four LEDs for toner, drum and other errors, a Ready light and a button marked Go, the main function of which appears to be printing a demo page.
The main paper tray can take up to 250 sheets, which is a healthy provision in a small machine like this, but there's also a single-sheet feed slot for special media just above, where you can feed envelopes and odd paper sizes. At the back is a single USB socket, the only data connection on the printer.
There's not much software supplied with the HL-2130, but Graphics Device Interface (GDI) drivers are provided for Windows and OS X. Although there are still no Linux drivers on the supplied CD, there is at least an option in the setup menu that takes you straight to Brother’s support pages, where you can download the appropriate driver.
We think it’s about time Linux drivers were included on software driver disks from all printer makers. Although there are many Linux distributions, a surprising number use common drivers and including them on the support disk would make installation simpler and customers using Linux feel less like poor relations.