The Best Laser Printer

Brother HL-L2340DW

PROS – Small size. Suitable paper capacity for sharing in a micro office. Duplexer (for two-sided printing). Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct.

CONS – No Ethernet. No additional paper handling options available.

BOTTOM LINE – The Brother HL-L2340DW is a good pick for a a shared printer in a micro office or a personal monochrome laser printer in any size office.

Small enough to serve as a personal monochrome laser printer, the Brother HL-L2340DW ($139.99) is also a candidate for sharing in a micro office. It offers suitable speed and paper handling for either role, and it supports mobile printing with Wi-Fi Direct as a welcome extra. The lack of an Ethernet connector will rule it out for sharing in many cases, but if you want a printer that connects to your network via Wi-Fi, it’s well worth a look.

Paper handling is one of the HL-L2340DW’s$109.00 at B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio strong points. Like the Samsung Xpress M2825DW$110.00 at Amazon, which is our Editors’ Choice moderately-priced personal or micro-office monochrome laser, the printer offers a 250-sheet tray, a one-sheet manual feed, and a built-in duplexer for two-sided printing. This should easily be enough for most personal or micro-office use. If you need more capacity, however, you’ll have to look elsewhere, since Brother doesn’t offer any paper handling upgrades for the printer.

More Basics

The HL-L2340DW also earns points for personal or micro-office use for its small size and weight. At just 7.2 by 14 by 14.2 inches (HWD), it can fit on your desk without taking up much room, and at only 15 pounds, one person can easily move it into place. That makes it a touch smaller and lighter than both the Samsung M2825DW and the next-generation replacement in Samsung’s line—the Samsung Xpress M2835DW$130.08 at Amazon.

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Going a step beyond the basics, the HL-L2340DW also offers mobile printing support. If you connect it to a network, it will let you print through the cloud and print from an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone through your network access point. If you connect it to a single PC via USB cable instead, you won’t be able to print through the cloud, but the built-in Wi-Fi Direct will still let you connect directly to the printer from mobile devices—a feature that can be highly useful even for a personal printer.

Setup, Speed, and Output Quality

For my tests, I connected the HL-L2340DW to a Windows Vista system. Setup is absolutely standard for a USB-connected monochrome laser.

Brother rates the printer engine at 27 pages per minute (ppm), which is the speed you should see when printing a text document or other files that need little to no processing. On our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), I timed it at 8.9ppm, which is a respectable speed for the price and engine rating. In comparison, the Samsung M2835DW managed a somewhat faster 9.7ppm, essentially tying the Samsung M2825DW’s 9.9ppm.

Unfortunately, the HL-L2340DW’s output quality is a touch below par overall. Text quality is good enough for any business use, as long as you don’t have an unusual need for small fonts, but it’s a step below the range that includes the majority of monochrome laser printers.

Graphics quality is also a step below the level that most of the competition delivers. It’s good enough for any internal business use, but few people would consider it good enough for PowerPoint handouts or the like. Photo quality is typical for a monochrome laser, but that’s a low bar. The output is good enough to print recognizable images from webpages, but not suitable for anything more demanding than that.

If you need better-looking output or an Ethernet connector, you should consider the Samsung M2825DW or the Samsung M2835DW. The Brother HL-L2340DW still has a lot going for it, with mobile printing support, ample paper handling, nearly the same speed as the Samsung models, and a somewhat lower price. If you don’t need a wired connection to a network, and you care more about cost than output quality, it may be the printer you want.

 

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