The best quality black text still comes from a laser printer and entry-level machines start at under £60. The Brother HL-2132 is a small, cheap mono laser printer that won't take up too much room on your desk.
The Brother HL-2123 is a small light and dark grey printer that sits squat on the desk, but has a larger footprint than some rival entry-level machines. This does mean that its generous 250-sheet paper tray fits entirely inside its case, though and there’s none of the ‘occasional print’ look of many small lasers, with fold down trays exposing paper to dust and spills.
The single tray and the single-sheet multipurpose feed above it feed the paper to the top surface of the machine, which has a flip-up paper stop at the front and a further flip-over flap, whose purpose isn't obvious. We've seen these on several printers and have yet to ascertain from their suppliers what they’re meant for.
The control panel consists of four LED indicators, for low toner, used drum, paper jams and printer ready and a single button marked Go to start or restart print jobs.
Most control comes from the printer driver, which offers toner save, multiple pages per sheet, an optical resolution of 600dpi or an interpolated 1,200 dpi and manual duplex, with instructions on placing the paper to print the second side.
You dold down the top front of the Brother HL-2132’s case to gain access to the drum and toner cartridge. This is a two-part cartridge, where the drum has a service life of 12,000 pages and each cartridge should be good for 1,000 pages. The toner cartridge plugs into the drum, so the complete unit can be slid into place as one item.
It's a shame there's no high-capacity option for the toner cartridge, as 1,000 ISO pages can be used up surprisingly quickly, even in a home office.
The only data connection to the printer is a single USB port at the back, which makes setup easy but is less flexible than a wireless link. If you need wireless, the Brother HL-2135W is a similar machine that adds built-in Wi-Fi.