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Colour laser printers Reviews
15,467 Reviews

Brother HL-4040CN colour laser printer

£458 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Brother

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Brother HL-4040CN is the first colour laser printer designed by Brother itself, rather than a rebranded model from another manufacturer.

The Brother HL-4040CN is the first colour laser printer designed by Brother itself, rather than a rebranded model from another manufacturer.

It's a decent first effort, offering good overall speed and print quality for a competitive price. The Brother HL-4040CN sometimes falls short on ease of use, unfortunately.

The setup process is easy and thoroughly documented in a printed guide as well as in animated videos on the CD included with the Brother HL-4040CN. Find a friend to help you lift the printer, though - at about 29kg (according to Brother HL-4040CN's own specifications), it's heavier than most comparably equipped colour laser printers.

At default settings the Brother HL-4040CN prints competently. Its speeds - average overall - range from 19.3ppm (pages per minute) for plain black text to 4.2ppm for graphics. Text in all tested fonts looked perfectly crisp. Colour images erred on the yellow side; photos looked grainy, especially on glossy laser paper. Using the Brother HL-4040CN driver's "Fine (2400 dpi class)" setting improved images noticeably.

Brother deserves kudos for the software bundled with the Brother HL-4040CN, which includes a comprehensive, well-illustrated user guide (in HTML and PDF) and interactive help files, as well as a dynamic status monitor. The driver offers a good supply of printing options.

The Brother HL-4040CN's hardware, on the other hand, needs work. The control panel's LCD is great, as it can tilt 0 to 90 degrees, glows green when things are normal and red when things go awry, and communicates in plain English. But the menu buttons didn't always make sense to us. The up-arrow/plus button is for scrolling backward and the down-arrow/minus is for scrolling forward, while the "Go" button is also for pausing. The Brother HL-4040CN's 50-sheet multipurpose tray is unmarked and hard to find (it folds out from the front of the printer).

Most odd, the Brother HL-4040CN's toner cartridge bays are not keyed to prevent insertion of the wrong colour. Brother says that such a mistake will not damage the printer, and it didn't when we intentionally switched two colours. But the Brother HL-4040CN should, at least, have recognized the mistake at the start and refused to print. Instead it printed a bizarrely coloured page.

Cost per page (based on Brother's specs) is very good. The high-yield cartridges have a page capacity of 5000 for black and 4000 for each colour. Standard-capacity cartridges with shorter page lives (and thus higher costs) are also available.

The Brother HL-4040CN is designed to be, and is priced as, a low-end machine. Its only option is a networking add-on; shoppers seeking more features (such as additional paper capacity) might consider its higher-end cousin, the HL-4070CDW.

Brother HL-4040CN Expert Verdict »
Brother HL-4040CN Scores 8.4 out of 10 based on 85 reviews
Up to 20ppm colour printing speed
up to 20ppm monochrome printing speed
up to 2,400x600dpi print resolution
300MHz processor
64MB memory (expandable to 576MB)
USB 2.0 connection
PCL6 emulation
network ready
up to 250-sheet capacity
1-year onsite warranty (upon registration)
474x317x419mm
29kg
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The inexpensive Brother HL-4040CN produces excellent text quality, is easy to set up and comes with helpful documentation, but it is incredibly heavy, has a confusing control panel and isn't expandable. A decent first colour laser printer from Brother.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.

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