Brother rates the HL-2130 at up to 20ppm and that’s not far off the mark. Much of this good performance is due to the comparatively short time it takes the printer to start printing. There’s very little pre-processing, perhaps due to an efficient GDI driver, so overall print times, even on shorter documents, are quite quick.
Our 5-page text document completed in 23s, giving a speed of 13ppm, but this increased to 17.4ppm on the 20-page test, which is not far off the stated speed. The five-page black text and graphics test was a bit slower than the straight text one, at 11.5ppm. Finally, a 15 x 10cm photo printed on A4 using the printer's highest quality 600 x 2,400dpi print took 16s.
The prints that come out the of the machine are well formed and densely black. Its standard resolution of 600dpi is enough to produce smoothly rounded characters, quite suitable for business as well as home or student documents. Toner save mode doesn't reduce the print quality much, so for day-to-day printing you can save money by using it as the default.
The printer is not so happy with greyscales, though, producing blotchy and banded areas of fill and finding it hard to differentiate between lighter and darker mid-tones. Even when ramping the resolution up to the printer's top 2,400 x 600dpi for the photo print, these problems are still apparent in areas of steady tone, such as in skies.
Brother uses a two-part drum and toner cartridge, where the drum lasts for up to 12,000 pages, and the toner cartridge needs replacing every 1,000 pages. Using the cheapest sources we could find for each of these consumables gives a cost per ISO page of 4.2p.
This is quite a bit more than machines like the Kyocera Mita FS-1320D, though Kyocera Mita are renowned for low running costs. However, even compared with very similarly-priced machines like the Samsung ML-1865W, which costs around 3.6p per page, this Brother machine looks quite pricey to run.
This is a well conceived, entry-level mono laser printer for use in a small or home office. It's quick and quiet and produces good quality print, though it's not the cheapest of its peers to run. As much at home connected to a Windows, OS X or Linux machine, it pretty much does what it says on the box and at a very reasonable price.