Brother HL-5440D Performance
On paper, 38ppm sounds like a high speed for a mid-range mono laser that's a little too good to be true, and so it proved to be. Despite it’s fast first page out time of under nine seconds, which we confirmed in our tests, our five page text document took 19 seconds, a speed of 15.8ppm. This was true of the same print in toner-save mode, too.
On the longer, 20-page test, the speed rose to 27.3ppm, still some way short of the headline figure. These kinds of discrepancy are usually down to manufacturers measuring speeds exclusive of any start-up time and purely page to page. We don’t think this type of measurement is fair, when in real life you have to wait for the printer to process the pages before starting to print. It’s all done to get bigger numbers on the box.
Duplex print is standard on the Brother HL-5440D and our 20-page document printed duplex took 1:13, a speed of 16.4ppm. This speed and the single sided results are all good for this class of machine and subjectively prints come through without much wait. The five-page text and graphics print was marginally quicker than the text only test and a 15 x 10cm photo on A4 took 16 seconds.
The prints we saw from the machine were good in parts. Text print, from the default 600dpi engine is crisp and densely black even at small point sizes – 1200dpi is available as a maximum, but has to be selected. Greyscale fills for business graphics are smooth, with a fair range of different shades to represent colours in an original.
Where the printer falls down, at least in this sample, was in reproducing photographic images. By default, a lot of the darker shades turned black, removing a lot of shadow detail and areas of lighter greys, such as in skies, were noticeably banded. OK, you don’t buy a mono laser printer to print photos, but we have seen much better attempts than those produced here.
Using the highest capacity toner cartridge and adding in the cost of the drum gives a cost per page of 1.97p. This is very good for a printer which itself costs less than £200.
Brother HL-5440D Verdict
The Brother HL-5440D is a good, down-to-earth, mono laser printer which does pretty much what it says on the box. It’s not as fast as Brother thinks, but still has a good turn of speed. The print quality is good for text, but mediocre for some greyscale fills, particularly in photos. Duplex print is a cost saver, but the main one is the low cost of drum and toner, making this a very economical machine to run.