Product Review–Brother HL-2240D compact direct-connect monochrome laser printer

Introduction

I am reviewing the Brother HL-2240D monochrome laser printer which is the second in line in Brother’s latest series of compact monochrome laser printers. There is a cheaper version of this printer, the HL-2230, which doesn’t have the auto-duplex functionality. On the other hand, the HL-2250DN and HL-2270DW printers have the same functionality as this model but can be connected to an Ethernet network or HomePlug powerline network with the appropriate adaptors; with the latter model being able to be connected to a Wi-Fi network as well.

It is also worth noting that the HL-2270DW model, which is the Wi-Fi-enabled top-shelf model of the series had won the Buyer’s Laboratory “Pick” Award for A4 SOHO printers.

Brother HL-2240D compact monochrome laser printer

Print Paper Trays Connections
B/W 1 x A4 USB 2.0
Laser xerographic Single-page manual bypass
Auto-duplex

Prices

Printer

Recommended Retail Price: AUD$149

Inks and Toners

Standard High-Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages
Black AUD$69.95 1200 AUD$118.95 2600

Servicing and Other Parts (Laser Printers)

Price Pages
Drum Kit AUD$129.95 12000

The printer itself

Like its low-end laser-printer peers, the Brother HL-2240D and its stablemates are very compact printers that is very shallow, slightly higher than two large-city telephone directories stacked on top of each other. This means that the printed documents are easy to reach from one’s chair and it doesn’t take up much bench space.

Usage experience

The software that came with the printer had installed on my computer very properly and had operated true to the Windows 7 specifications. As well, the user-interface screens for the driver are very easy to use, being able to show on the left side the settings you have implemented for your print job. This is a very similar experience that I had with the driver software that I had for the Brother HL-4150CDN colour laser printer when I reviewed that unit; and has demonstrated to me that Brother has made strong efforts with their software’s useability.

The Brother HL-2240D printer and printers based on this similar print engine take between 6 to 8 seconds to warm up and be ready to print. It doesn’t matter if this printer has been just used or not.

There is a significant time penalty with this printer for duplex printing, where the machine will take twice as long to turn out documents. This is because it can handle only one page at a time through a duplex print cycle; and will likely be a problem with compact laser printers that use this feature.

The printer uses a manual feed slot for labels, transparencies, envelopes and similar material and these materials have to be loaded one at a time. There may be some materials that have to pass through the printer in a straight-through manner similar to the old photocopier or original Apple LaserWriter printer. Here, there is a drop-down hatch on the back of the printer to cater for these requirements.

There isn’t a “fuel-gauge” for the toner, a feature I would find useful when working out the effect of a large print run on the machine’s toner supplies. The only way the user knows if the printer is out of toner is through the “TONER” light on the top of the machine flashing when it is very low and this same light glowing steadily when they need to replace the toner.

Brother HL-2240D laser printer - toner cartridge and drum unit as removed from printer

What is required to be removed to replace the toner on these printers

When you have to replace the toner cartridge on the Brother HL-2240D and its peers, you have to remove the drum unit from the machine then release the toner cartridge from the drum unit by operating a small green latch on the left side of the drum unit. This process can appear to be very fiddly compared to other laser printers that I have reviewed, where you could just simply pull out the spent toner cartridge from the printer after opening the access door / lid and, in the case of the colour lasers, pulling out a drawer. It is also prone to mistakes and reduced printout quality if the user doesn’t know where to “park” the drum unit while replacing the toner cartridge.

Brother HL-2240D Compact Laser Printer - Toner Cartridge and Drum Unit separate

Toner Cartridge detached from drum unit

Print Quality

The output quality is what you would expect from a laser printer when it comes to text, with the sharp lettering that is typical of this class of printer. But give it a photograph to be printed in greyscale and you will have some banding across the page. As well, the pictures come out slightly darker even though they are printed on plain paper. This is usually due to these printers having their prowess anchored around document printing.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

An improvement that I would like to see would be an easier-to-replace toner cartridge. This is where the drum unit can be pulled out just enough to remove and replace the toner cartridge without the need to operate any catches.

Similarly, these printers could benefit from an on-machine or driver-based toner “fuel gauge” indicator. This is so that one can know where they are at with the toner supply for their units.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

I would recommend that the Brother HL-2240D or HL-2250DN printers be considered for applications like most small medical or legal practices; small hotels or independent travel agents where there is a strong likelihood of turning out standard documents where colour doesn’t matter like invoices, health-insurance forms or itineraries.

Similarly these two printers could be used in a lawyer’s, psychologist’s or other similar professional’s office for turning out confidential information for their patients or clients. It is also augmented by the fact that these printers could easily just occupy the space of a small table like the archetypal side table; which may befit one of these professional’s offices.

The HL-2250DN would suit applications where there are two to five computers sharing the one printer or the location uses laptop computers connected to the network via Wi-Fi wireless. If this was used in a Wi-Fi-based location, this printer would be connected to the network via Ethernet or HomePlug.

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