Brother HL-5240 review

£117
Price when reviewed

This is the cheapest printer we’ve tested in the Labs this month, costing only £117. Despite this, it provides excellent print quality and is one of the fastest mono machines on test – as well as being laden with a decent feature set that puts to shame the more expensive models.

The sheer quality the HL-5240 consistently churns out is impressive, too, especially given the money you’ll save compared to pricier printers. Scores from our judges averaged above 7/10 in all areas, giving it the highest overall quality rating by some distance.

This superior standard of printing is matched by a slick and speedy output only beaten – and it’s debatable – by the HP P2014. It was fastest in our DTP test, and right among the leaders with plain text and Excel documents. It slipped up slightly only with its warm-up time: 16 seconds to first page from sleep mode is pretty good this month, but the HP took just half that. How important you deem this will decide the speed winner, but they’re both extremely quick printers.

This stunning overall performance is backed up with a competent, if not mind-blowing, set of features. You won’t get ethernet unless you upgrade, which could prove problematic in an office, but everything else is present and correct. It will print a generous 7,000 pages per toner cartridge, which are well priced at £46 for extremely cheap running costs across the board, regardless of your monthly usage.

This performance does come at a price, though; the HL-5240 consumes more power than any other printer except Epson’s EPL-6200, especially when running at full blast. It won’t win any green competitions, which did make us consider whether it should be victorious this month.

But there’s simply little else not to like about the Brother HL-5240. It’s quick and, importantly, possesses unbeatable quality to match the scorching pace. The upgrade potential and rock-bottom cost – both at purchase and during use -contribute to a score that’s unbeatable this month. It was A-Listed before this test and retains that honour this month.

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