Brother rates the HL-5380DN at speeds of up to 30ppm, though we saw exactly half this when printing our five-page text document. The real-world speed was identical in toner save mode, not a conventional draft mode, but we did see it rise to 22.6ppm on the longer, 20-page document.
Switching to duplex print produced our 20-side test on 10 sheets in 1:43, which is equivalent to 11.7 sides per minute. The five-page text and graphics document gave 15ppm again and a 15 x 10cm photo printed in a snappy 15s. All these speeds are very respectable and this isn’t a machine which is going to keep a small office or workgroup hanging around for print jobs.
It’s not a particularly quiet printer, with peaks of 65dBA at half a metre, but noise levels are directly related to speed and size. The HL-5380DN has a comparatively small case, so noise is going to be more noticeable.
Print is a little light in both normal and toner save modes. Although no thin serifs or descenders are lost in the print, it does look as if the printer is running low on toner, even on a new cartridge.
Greyscales are also light, though this does mean overprinted text shows up well. Reversed text demonstrates the printer is more than capable of printing dense black. Our test photo showed a smoother sky than most but, for all its lightness, still lost some detail in the darker shadows.
Consumable prices are very reasonable, giving a cost per page of 2.4p, about average for this class of printer. The relatively high yields of both toner and drum mean you won’t be attending to this machine’s needs that often.
If you want a mono laser printer which can print a bit quicker than the standard one-per-desk models, the Brother HL-5380DN will do it for you. It doesn’t cost that much to run, either, though you may find both text and graphics come through a little light, in comparison with some of its rivals. Fast duplex and a handy secure print facility may also be bonuses you’re looking for.