- Review Price: £174.56
Mono laser printers are still the backbone of business printing, in everything from home offices to corporate departments. Brother’s HL-5340D is definitely at the lower end of this spectrum, but offers a high print speed and duplex print as standard, while still sitting well below the £200 mark.
What is there to say about the look of a mono laser printer? It’s trying very hard not to look boxy and Brother has done a reasonable job with a case in two-tone grey and an interesting slatted top surface, something of a departure for an office printer.
A couple of flip-up stops are designed to prevent paper slipping off the front, but in our tests we had no trouble with both stops folded shut. Indeed, the front one is quite awkward to open.
The control panel consists of a column of five warning LEDs, all of them dual-colour green and orange. There are lights for an open back cover, as well as for low toner, worn drum and lack of paper. Two buttons to start and cancel jobs are the only physical controls.
A 250-sheet paper tray slides out from the bottom of the printer’s front and a 10-sheet multi-purpose tray folds down above that, to run special media. A click-open panel on the left-hand side gives direct access to the machine’s memory socket, so you can add extra storage. At the back are dual sockets for USB and parallel connections – there’s no network support as standard on the HL-5340D.
Installing the consumables is very simple, as there’s a two-part drum and toner cartridge which slides into the machine from the front, once you’ve folded down the front cover. The drum has a good service life of 25,000 pages, while the toner cartridges are available in two capacities, of 3,000 and 8,000 pages.
Software support is also easy to set up, and there are drivers on the supplied CD for Windows and Mac OS X. Linux is also supported, though you need to download drivers separately from the Brother website.
The standard driver includes useful facilities like multiple pages per sheet, watermarks and booklet printing, though this last involves manual rather than automatic duplex print. Automated duplexing is standard on this printer, so it’s something of a surprise that it isn’t supported in the booklet option.
Even though this is a comparatively inexpensive printer, Brother claims a top print speed of 30ppm. We ran both our five-page and 20-page text documents and produced speeds of 17.64ppm and 23.53ppm, respectively. The second speed in particular is unusually close to the claimed throughput and is very respectable for a machine in this class.
Printing text and graphics is slower than straight text print, but we still saw 13.64ppm from our five-page test print. Switching to duplex and printing the 20-page text document as a 10 page, 20-side job produced a speed of 12.5 sides per minute or 6.25 pages per minute. This is roughly half the speed of an equivalent single-sided job and is close to what you would expect.
Our top-resolution photo print took an extended 28 seconds to complete, but printing at 1,200dpi quality brought the time down to 12 seconds and printing at 600dpi knocked another two seconds off it, for a 10 second print.
Comparing the three different photo prints shows a surprising result, as there’s very little to choose between them. The HL-5340D does well in all three, with surprisingly good shadow detail, something you don’t often see in a mono print. There’s also good detail in light areas of the image and smooth gradations of grey in the sky of our test image. There’s very little sign of any banding and the only real frustration is an obvious dot pattern, when you look closely at any of the photos.
As we said, there’s a choice of two different toner cartridges and, using the higher capacity 8,000 page cartridge, you should only need to change the drum once for every three toner cartridge changes. When we worked through the costs, we got a figure of 1.79p per page, including 0.7p paper cost. This is a good figure for a mono laser printer at this price and is usually only found on machines costing £100 or so more than this Brother.
The HL-5340D is a great, day-to-day workhorse of a printer for the home or small office and offers reliable printing at low-cost, from a machine which has a purchase price a good deal lower than some of its rivals. Its built-in duplex print is a useful extra, and you can make significant paper savings by setting the machine to default to double-sided print. There’s really nothing major you can level against this printer, which even manages to get reasonably close to the print speeds Brother quotes for it.
Score in detail
Print Speed 10
Print Quality 9
|Paper Size||A4, Letter, B5, A5, B6, A6, Executive|
|Sheet Capacity||300 sheets|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||32 ppmipm, 30 ppmipm|