Brother HL-4040CN review
Compared to most of its rivals, the Brother HL-4040CN is the Rolls Royce of colour lasers. It’s not just the price or weight – although at £221 and 29kg it’s at the expensive and heavy end of the scale. It’s beautifully built. Every user-accessible part feels precisely machined, from the smooth printing engine to the steel cables used to support the fold-down flap on the front that gives access to the toner cartridges.
The superlatives continue with its paper handling. The main tray can hold 250 sheets, which matches the most capacious in its class. You also get networking as standard, and there’s a PictBridge-compatible USB port on the front for printing documents directly.
The benefits continue with best-in-class print speeds. The 4040CN averaged 17ppm across all our tests. It isn’t quite the fastest monochrome laser we’ve seen, but its colour print speed was far more impressive. Its single-pass colour engine means colour copies printed at exactly the same rate as in monochrome, and 22ppm for 20 copies of the standard ISO test document is an excellent result for those who use colour regularly.
We only experienced a significant drawback with our complex 24-page DTP document, whose difficult mixture of text, graphics and photographs proved demanding for the Brother’s 300MHz, 64MB electronics. 7ppm is a surprisingly poor result – it’s not significantly worse than most of its rivals, but it’s disappointing nevertheless for one of the most expensive colour lasers around.
At least we can’t complain about quality. The Brother produced highly respectable results in our business graphics test. White text on a red background printed accurately, and we were pleased with our monochrome photographic test as well, which produced smooth gradients. The only disappointment was our colour photo test – the Brother’s test page was pale and badly lacked vibrancy.
But it’s a minor failing. The Brother is a cheap printer in the short-term until a huge leap at around 4,000 pages – where the TCO rockets from under £300 to nearer £600 – but if you and your small band of co-workers will be frequently producing colour prints it’s a decent choice. We’re particularly fond of its excellent design. It doesn’t quite scoop an award thanks to its high eventual TCO, but it’s a still a solid choice.
|Resolution printer final||2400 x 600dpi|
|Rated/quoted print speed||20PPM|
|Maximum paper size||A4|
|Drum life||17,000 pages|
|Transfer-belt life||50,000 pages|
|Standard mono toner life||2,500 pages|
|High-yield mono toner life||5,000 pages|
|Standard colour toner life||1,500|
|High-yield colour toner life||4,000 pages|
|Supplied mono toner life||2,500 pages|
|Supplied colour toner life||1,500|
Power and noise
|Dimensions||419 x 475 x 317mm (WDH)|
|Peak power consumption||510W|
|Idle power consumption||20W|
|Mono print speed (measured)||22ppm|
|Colour print speed||22ppm|
|Input tray capacity||250 sheets|
|Output tray capacity||150 sheets|
|Operating system Windows 7 supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows Vista supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows XP supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows 2000 supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows 98SE supported?||yes|