Ivor O’Connor

December 11, 2009

Brother HL-4070CDW Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:44 am

The Brother HL-4070CDW works nicely with Ubuntu. Ubuntu immediately recognizes the printer and installs the appropriate drivers. Lets take the points one at a time from the above page on the Brother’s website.

Fast color output. With a print speed up to 21ppm in both color and black, you can now have brilliant color output faster than ever before.

Actually it takes 30 seconds per page to print a sparsely colored text document that is double sided. They must have printed a single sided document with a single period on it to get these quoted speeds.

Flexible connectivity. Featuring built-in wireless 802.11b/g and Ethernet network interfaces, you can easily share this printer with everyone on your wired or wireless network. The printer also offers Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and Parallel interfaces.

It works well with multiple Linux and M$ connections over ethernet. I haven’t had the opportunity or desire to test any other interface.

Easily print two-sided documents. Using the duplex printing feature, you can reduce your printing costs and produce professional looking two-sided documents, presentations and brochures.

I always print double sided, with never a problem, so it does save paper and hence printing costs. However the colors are far from professional looking. Printing the same colored image using different toner cartridges will produce dramatically different results. Scanned in color images never turn out the same as the originals. Though the colors are dramatically different they are good enough. Especially for a $300 dollar, street price, printer.

USB Direct Interface. Print PDF and JPEG files directly from your USB flash memory drive without connecting to your PC. Connect directly to your PictBridge-enabled digital camera to print pictures from the camera, without first downloading to a PC.

Could be true. I’d be surprised if it weren’t. I have not attempted this.

High capacity replacement toner cartridges. Reduce operating costs and spend less time replacing supplies with high yield replacement toner cartridges. (TN-115 Series sold separately)

The original color toner cartridges didn’t last long. All three color toner cartridges went out on the very same page. Contacting Brother was a huge waste of time. Attempting to make them understand the improbability of all three toner cartridges going out on the same page, with one line of red text on it, was futile. I went up the supervisor chain but never managed to find anybody who sounded like they had left the ghetto. Or made it much past Junior High. So don’t ever bother contacting them. Furthermore the telephone system they use constantly iterate how anything other than official Brother toner cartridges will result in having to buy a new printer. I believe the system even forces you to acknowledge this by saying “yes” you heard and understood this before proceeding. It seems like Brother is running a racket much like HP. So I bought color toner cartridges from a local company in case they didn’t work. I ended up paying about $100 a toner cartridge, 100% compatible TN-115, and they worked. Then I went and bought some cheap ones from Amazon for $40 a piece. They worked fine too. I hope they last longer than the original toner cartridges that came with the printer. They only printed about 1500 pages.

Flexible paper handling. Supports a range of media sizes and types including letterhead, letter and legal size paper, and envelopes via a 300-sheet input capacity‡. This printer arrives with a lower paper tray, which holds up to 250 sheets and a multi-purpose tray, which holds up to 50 sheets. For fewer refills, the HL-4070CDW also accepts an optional 2nd paper tray, which holds up to 500 sheets‡.

I don’t know anything about this. I was not able to print out copies of scanned in colored checks on Ubuntu so I ordered the maximum memory the printer can take. Thinking it was too much for the memory that came with the printer and that I needed an upgrade. That upgrade worked fine but it did not help.

So I’d say the advertising was honest enough.

Now for what I have learned:

  1. The printer works fine with Ubuntu as long as you only print text. Ubuntu fails miserably printing graphics, such as colored check scans, taking hours for just a few pages. Or not printing at all no matter how long you wait. However if you print from M$ it takes seconds to start printing. No matter how big the file.
  2. The print drivers get installed automatically under Ubuntu. Not so with M$. And since the CD shipped with the printer was bad I had to rely on their website. It was fairly easy to navigate and had everything.
  3. The printer comes with no sensors to indicate what percentage of the toner is left. And it appears there is software in the printer to prematurely say all the color toner cartridges are empty when in fact only one is. Maybe a future update will fix this.
  4. Most of the controls available on M$ are not present with Ubuntu. So it’s unclear how to set Ubuntu to use the color toner cartridges sparingly.
  5. All-in-all it’s a fine printer but really only works well under M$. (Though it does work better than most printers do with Ubuntu…)
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