So the machine prints quite fast, but what are the prints like? Put simply, they’re very good. Black text is densely black, smooth with no patchiness and characters are crisp and well-defined. There are no visible jaggies on curves or diagonals. Greyscales in business graphics are also smooth, with no signs of banding and there’s good matching of colours to greys, maintaining a differential so you can still see the variation in shades.
The machine’s top resolution of 2,400 by 600 comes into its own with photo prints, always quite a test for a toner-based printer. Here, though, tones are smooth and the print is free of any obvious bands. While some of the dark, shadowed content is lost, foreground detail is good.
Although a HL-2035 toner cartridge normally prints 1,500 pages, the ‘starter’ cartridge supplied here is only good for 1,000. This little trick, again common to most manufacturers, means you start paying for consumable earlier and, given the minimal cost of black toner, seems a bit mean spirited.
However, Brother has split the toner and drum components of its cartridges, so you only have to replace the drum every 15,000 pages, which is good environmentally, as well as keeping the overall printing cost down. We calculate this cost at 3.08p per page, which is not bad, given the price of the printer itself. While more expensive laser printers drop the cost per page right down, more of their overall cost is built into the asking price.
This is a neat, functional, little mono laser printer. There’s really nothing to hold against it, as it’s inexpensive to buy, quick to print, produces good quality output and doesn’t cost a packet to run. As a colleague who came by while testing this machine said ‘That’s sweet. I like Brothers, they just sit there quietly doing their job’. When it comes to this machine, at least, we have to agree.