Duplex laser printers and colour laser printers have been around for a while, but not so long to expect the arrival of a machine which combines the two, and certainly for one costing less than £300. Brother’s HL-L8250CDN is a big bruiser of a desktop printer, possibly best set on its own stand or trolley, and is designed for a small office or a workgroup in a larger organisation.
Its cuboid looks are relieved by curved side edges and the white case by a matt black front panel. On top is a neat control panel with a two-line, 16-character LCD display which is backlit, but unevenly with a yellowy-green backlight which looks a little cheap. Just over the front lip of the machine is a front panel USB socket, so you can print documents and images directly off a USB drive.
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The main paper tray at the bottom of the panel can take up to 250 sheets and there’s a pull-down, multi-purpose tray above this for an extra 50 sheets of special media. Paper feeds out to an indent in the top panel and there’s a flip-up paper stop to prevent sheets running away. An extra, 500-sheet tray is available as an option.
At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet, though there’s no wireless connection on this model. Even so, if you connect to a router via an Ethernet cable, you can still get the printer to work wirelessly from mobile devices, via AirPrint or Google CloudPrint. This isn’t quite as convenient as direct wireless printing, but still widens the scope of devices that can use the HL-L8250CDN.
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The printer uses separate drum and toner cartridges. In fact, the drum cartridge includes four drums, one for each colour. The whole mechanism pulls out from behind the front panel in a single tray and the four toner cartridges, which are available in two yields, slot in on top of the drum unit.
Software is fairly basic, with a driver and a status monitor which can show you when consumables are running low.