Tag: LED printer

Product Review–Brother HL-L3230CDW Colour LED Printer


I am reviewing the Brother HL-L3230CDW which is their latest iteration of a colour LED-based xerographic printer. These xerographic printers works in a similar manner to a laser printer but uses a row of LEDs rather than a laser steered by moving mirrors to light the imaging drum with what you are printing as part of the printing process.

Brother is positioning the HL-L3230CDW as a follow-on model to their HL-3170CDW colour LED printer and its stablemates. But they are also running this model as a baseline printer for their new colour LED xerographic printing engine. The higher-priced pureplay stablemates based on the new engine also have a colour LCD touchscreen and offer more in the way of walk-up printing options such as working with Brother’s Web Connect online printing subsystem. There are also some colour LED multifunction printers with the fax-equipped models supporting this same Web Connect as well.

Brother HL-L3230CDW colour LED printer

Print Scan Copy Paper Trays Connections
Colour 1 A4 tray(standard) USB 2.0
LED xerographic 1 sheet multi-purpose tray Ethernet
Wi-Fi 4 (802.11g/n)
Own-access-point Wi-Fi 4 (802.11g/n)
Auto-Duplex IPv6 capability
Document Send/Receive
Mobile Printing Apple AirPrint
Google CloudPrint
MoPria support




RRP: AUD$329


Standard High Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages
Black AUD$146 2500
Cyan AUD$106 1300 AUD$159 2500
Magenta AUD$106 1300 AUD$159 2500
Yellow AUD$106 1300 AUD$159 2500

Servicing and Other Parts (Laser Printers)

Price Pages
Drum Kit – per colour AUD$299 18000
Belt Kit (Colour lasers) AUD$194.50 50000
Waste Toner Bin AUD$43 50000

The printer itself

Connectivity and Setup

Brother HL-L3230CDW colour LED printer control panel

The control panel on the Brother HL-L3230CDW colour LED printer

The Brother HL-L3230CDW is able to connect to your computer directly via USB or via your home network using Wi-Fi 4 (802.11g/n) or Ethernet. This review will be the first product review on HomeNetworking01.info to implement the new Wi-Fi Alliance “generation mumbering” scheme that has just been set in stone when it comes to what kind of connectivity to expect from a Wi-Fi wireless-network device.

There is a small LCD display as well as a D-pad for basic machine setup functionality so you are not expecting much from this printer beyond a baseline print device.

Brother HL-L3230CDW colour LED printer toners in place

Toner cartridges and drum units in the Brother HL-L3230CDW colour LED printer

You have to open a lid to gain access to the toner cartridges. drum units and belt unit. Here, each colour toner cartridge is installed in its drum unit but you separately replace the toner cartridge and the drum unit unlike what happens with HP LaserJet printers.

Here, each of the parts are easy to remove and reinstall which can be of benefit when dealing with paper jams. If you are dealing with a paper jam that occurred around the back of the printer, the fuser rollers are exposed when you open the back panel and release another black plastic panel to rectify the paper jam. This is a risky situation due to these rollers being hot after a print job.

Brother DR-253CL drum and TN-253Y toner cartridge

Toner cartridge and drum unit as separate pieces – installed in a similar manner to Brother monochrome laser printers

A security issue that will always come up regarding dedicated-function devices that connect to your network and the Internet is making sure these devices are kept up-to-date with the latest firmware. This is something I will be paying attention to regarding these devices and writing up about in these product reviews.

Brother integrates in to their print monitor software installed on your computer a software-update monitoring function. If there are new versions of the driver or printer firmware, this program will let you know so you can update this software, whereupon you can update this software. It will lead to the installation of a printer-firmware update tool to install newer firmware.

Paper Handling

The Brother HL-L3230CDW has a standard paper tray for ordinary document paper. But like most of the popularly-priced Brother printers. it has a single-sheet multipurpose feed slot which can be annoying if you are doing things like run a batch of labels or print on special media.

Walk-up functions

Due to its position in the market for its product type as an economy “bare-bones” printer, this printer doesn’t offer walk-up printing from USB, network or online resources.

Computer functions

I have installed the driver software on to my Windows 10 computer from Brother’s official support Website and this installation went according to plan.

As for printing from mobile devices, the Brother HL-L3230CDW can print using Brother’s own iPrint&Scan app. But it supports driver-free printing in the form of Apple’s AirPrint and the Mopria platform as well as supporting Google Cloud Print.

There is support for code-based secure job release but it requires you to enter the pre-determined release code using a “pick-and-choose” method not dissimilar to text entry on a Smart TV or video peripheral using its remote control.

Print speed and quality

If the Brother HL-L3230CDW colour LED printer hasn’t been used for a significant amount of time, it would take around 20 seconds to yield the first page of the document from when you send the print job from your computer. If it was recently used, the printer would take around 10 seconds to turn out the first page of the print job. This is something that would be expected for most economy laser printers.

This printer would yield sharp crisp document output even for colour work thus making it suitable for basic office printing including printing of desktop publishing work.

I printed two test photos using Windows 10 Photos app along using the best printing-quality setting available and they came out slightly pale compared with Brother’s recent premium colour laser printer – the HL-L8350CDW. Most of the colours still come out vibrant although it doesn’t handle the flesh tones really well.

Even though I haven’t had the chance to personally test the Brother HL-3170CDW or its stablemates that are based on the second-generation LED xerographic print engine, I had noticed a significant improvement on photo output quality over the generations compared to when I tested the HL-3075CW which used Brother’s first-generation LED xerographic print engine.  What is showing up with the Brother HL-L3230CDW is that it is capable of yielding photo output that is good for ordinary use but not fully presentation-grade.

The Brother HL-L3230CDW’s LED print engine is the second colour LED print engine that Brother designed to implement an automatic duplexer across all of the models. But I have paid some attention to registration shift between the front and back of the same sheet of paper during a double-sided print run. Here, I had noticed a slight vertical shift where the back page was slightly shifted down from the front by a few millimetres. This is something that may be common with most desktop printers equipped with this feature but may be of concern with turning out print jobs like doorknob hangers, luggage tags or the like where you need to cut out a particular shape.

Unlike the premium Brother colour laser printers, the Brother HL-L3230 doesn’t implement a “quick turnaround” approach to automatic duplexing. Rather it seems to work one sheet of paper at a time while doing a double-sided print run.

Limitations And Points Of Improvement

One feature that Brother could work on with the economy colour LED printers is the registration shift for auto-duplexing. Here, they could make sure that there isn’t any drift between the front and back of the printed page, which can be of benefit for printing special-shaped work. It can also lead towards designing automatic duplexer mechanisms for printers that are paper-agile such as being able to work with smaller paper sizes or thicker paper.

The manual bypass tray could be able to support multiple sheets of paper, which can be of benefit if you are turning out a significant quantity of labels, printed envelopes or other special documents.

Another issue that will be of concern is the cost to replace the drum units when they come up for replacement. This can cause one to consider buying a new printer from the same range rather than replacing the necessary parts. It is more so where the drum units are being rated for fewer pages than the other components.

Another improvement I would like to see regarding this printer is the option to start a firmware update for a network-connected printer from its control panel through the “Machine Info” menu. This could be augmented through a message on the printer’s display to say that new firmware is available like I have seen with some of the multifunction units they offer.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

Personally, I would see the Brother HL-L3230CDW as an entry-level casual-use option for a xerographic-based colour printer that is suited for small jobs. This could be something that is a home office or a private “document-preview” printer.

An issue that will be of concern is that if at least one drum unit or the belt unit comes up for replacement at the same time as a toner replacement, it could make us think that this printer is worth replacing rather than the necessary parts. This is a problem that I see being endemic with economy-positioned printers.

Product Review–Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer


I am reviewing the Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer which is an economy colour xerographic printer based on LED technology. I have covered this technology before in an article about the difference between laser and LED printer technologies.

There is a cheaper variant of this printer, known as the Brother HL-3045CN which has USB and Ethernet connection to host computers only and doesn’t have the walk-up printing abilities that this model has. The comments about the print quality would apply to the Brother HL-3045CN as well.

Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer

Print Paper Trays Connections
Colour 1 x A4 USB 2.0
LED xerographic Multi-purpose slot Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11g/n Wi-Fi
IPv6 ready



Recommended Retail Price: AUD$449

Inks and Toners

Price Pages
Black AUD$108 2200
Cyan AUD$102 1400
Magenta AUD$102 1400
Yellow AUD$102 1400

It is worth knowing that Officeworks are selling in Australia a pack of each of the above-listed toners for AUD$375.

Servicing and Other Parts (Laser Printers)

Price Pages
Drum Kit AUD$264 15000
Belt Kit AUD$187 50000
Waste Toner Kit 50000

The printer itself

Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer control panel detail

The printer’s control panel

The Brother HL-3075CW was very easy to set up. This included establishing it on to the home network via Ethernet and is what I would prefer for any networked printer so as to assure reliable operation. It also is future-proof with inherent support for IPv6.

Walk-up functions

The Brother HL-3075CW has a USB socket on the front for PictBridge printing from cameras or to print PDF and JPEG files from a USB memory key. The PictBridge setup worked as normal with may Canon PowerShot G1X camera, making use of the camera’s user interface properly.

Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer walk-up PictBridge USB connection

USB socket for connecting document-filled USB memory keys or PictBridge digital cameras

But when you navigated a directory structure of a USB memory key, the display truncated the file and folder names to a shorter form of the kind you would have expected from earlier MS-DOS versions. It could work better by scrolling the full file or folder name if you wait on that folder name without touching any button, and can make it easier to choose the right file to print.

It also works properly with the Brother iPrint&Scan mobile printing app for the iOS and Android platforms and was ready to print when the photo print job was 85% through on my Samsung Galaxy S Android phone.

Computer functions

Although I install the software from the drivers on Brother’s Web site so I can be sure of the latest drivers, the driver installation procedure went smoothly for my Windows 7 computer. This included the ability to discover the printer quickly and without any ambiguity.

The driver’s user interface still has the same features as all the other Brother print drivers that I have used. This is where it clearly shows you the settings you have implemented for your print job so you are sure of what you are specifying for the print job.

The printer supports a “confidential-print” mode which is similar to what is offered on the Brother HL-4150CDN. It is where the job is turned out only when you enter a password that you set when you submit the job from your computer. It has the same user experience with that “pick ‘n choose” password-entry method where the user uses the arrow keys to select numbers for the password.

Printer speed, quality and reliability

Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer toner cartridges in place

Toner cartridges in place

The Brother HL-3075CW printer took 10 seconds from the “sleep” mode to be ready to print. It didn’t matter whether you touched its control panel so as you could adjust a setting or do a “walk-up” print job; or sent a job from a computer. If you did send a job from your computer, the first page would be finished and in the output tray a few seconds later. Even the printout speed was very quick for both the colour and monochrome print runs, in a imilar manner to what was expected for most of the colour laser printers that I have reviewed..

If you print photos on this printer, they do come out noticeably darker and it doesn’t matter if you use 2400dpi or not. As well, the Brother printer doesn’t yield strong colours for the images. I also noticed the same effect with printing a picture that I took on my digital camera through its PictBridge interface.

Other than that, the documents that this printer turn out are very crisp and have that distinct “laser-quality” look about them.

Limitations and Points of improvement

There are ways in which Brother could improve these economy colour LED printers. One would be to provide an auto-duplex mechanism so as to capitalise on the advantages of this feature such as paper being saved and the flexibility that this offers for desktop publishing.

As well, they could provide optional high-capacity toner cartridges like they have done previously for most of the monochrome laser and LED printer range as well as the high-end colour laser printer range. This feature could make these colour LED printers appealingly efficient to run and suit different operating patterns.

Brother could also improve the way their laser and LED printers, especially the colour models, turn out photos so that the pictures come out with improved contrast and colour saturation. This is because most of us may use the photo-printing capabilities on these printers for printing proof images that are used when you shortlist pictures for your print or online publication.

As well, I would like to see the USB port on these printers able to be used for a USB “Human Interface Device”-compliant numeric keypad which works as a password-entry device for the “confidential-print” feature. Brother could then sell one of these keypads as an optional “deal-making” accessory for their business laser printers.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printerI would position the Brother HL-3045CN as a networked entry-level colour xerographic printer if you don’t place value on the walk-up USB printing feature and the HL-3075CW if you do place value on this function. In some cases, you could use the walk-up USB printing and the wireless network ability as a bargaining chip when you do buy this printer. As well they would work well if you are placing emphasis on them as colour document printers and you don’t intend to print both sides of the page.

Laser and LED xerographic printing–what is the difference

When you are looking at laser printers to buy for yourself or specify for an organisation, you will come across printers that are known as “LED printers”.

What are these LED printers?

A LED printer and a laser printer are very similar types of printers in so much as how the paper is marked. They use the same dry-process xerographic / photostatic printing method that has been used for years with photocopiers, where there is an electrostatically-charged imaging drum which attracts powdered toner depending on whether it has been subject to light or not. Then this toner is transferred from the drum to electrostatically-charged paper and “ironed on” using hot fuser rollers.

But the main difference is how this imaging drum is illuminated with the digital representation of your document. A laser printer uses a laser beam and swivelling mirrors or pentagonal prisms to scan the document’s image on to the drum. On the other hand, an LED printer uses a fixed row of light-emitting diodes that turn on and off to scan the image to the drum. This LED array would be similar to what is used to illuminate a document when it is being scanned in the typical scanner and each LED light represents a horizontal pixel that is part of the line being printed.

This has benefits for printer design due to the elimination of the complex light path that laser printers use. Here, you don’t need to use mirrors and servo motors to control the laser’s light path, thus you reduce the number of parts that can go wrong. It also leads to the ability to design xerographic page printers that are more compact and lightweight compared to the laser-based units.

Further comments with OKI Data about LED printers

I had engaged in an email interview with Chris Thorley from OKI Data’s Australian head office to learn more about this. Here, I had learnt that they had pioneered this xerographic printing technology in 1981 and are now on their ninth-generation LED print engine.

Most other printer manufacturers use this LED technology on some of their low-end models. The main reason is a reduced part count allowing for reduced material costs; as well as the impact of unforseen technological issues not being considered significant for this market position, compared with using the trusted laser technology on their mid-tier and high-end models.

But OKI Data have implemented this technology across the board with their colour LED printers known to be yielding high colour production quality. It may also be known that some other manufacturers implement the OKI technology in to their production printing devices on an OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturer) basis. This practice is where a manufacturer uses an already-designed subsystem from anther manufacturer (the OEM)  in their own project.


It is worth considering the LED printers for your page-printer needs as long as they have the kind of specifications that you have in mind. This includes machine reliability, image quality, print speed including colour and auto-duplex print speed, functionality and running costs including availability of toner cartridges at differing capacity levels.