The Brother HL-5340D's looks aren't exactly alluring. Mono laser printers remain resolutely unglamorous, but the fact is, for many an office it'll be capable little page churners like the HL-5340D that turn out the majority of the print jobs.
Devices such as the Brother HL-5340D tend not to be overburdened with fancy features or with flimsy styling that's destined to lose lustre when faced with the everyday needs of office workers.
Indeed, unusual the Brother HL-5340D's corrugated output tray may be, but we suspect it's so for a reason. It's functional, and even without putting up the flaps, this printer had no problems catching the paper as it popped out of the feed. In essence, there's little on this printer that can be easily damaged
Panel buttons are kept to a minimum too, and this is actually one of the easiest printers to both use and install - our Brother HL-5340D was up and printing sheets within six minutes of emerging from the box.
The Brother HL-5340D isn't heavily featured, and even network support is omitted. Those wanting to run it on a network will need to pay the extra £40 for the HL-5350DN, which features Ethernet support.
The Brother HL-5340D meanwhile is strong where it matters though. Not only do you get the excellent duplex feature (more of this later), but the 250-sheet tray allows for quite extensive print jobs.
And £82 will buy you an additional 250 sheet tray, should you need it, expanding the Brother HL-5340D further. You might want to upgrade the memory, though, as the 16MB is a paltry amount that wouldn't let us print a number of images at the highest resolution.
The resolution support itself is quite interesting, as the Brother HL-5340D has four different modes - 300dpi, 600dpi, 1200dpi and HQ 1200dpi. Other lasers may have more than one resolution, but the difference in speed is generally minimal, with the only real consideration one of whether you want to save toner or not. The Brother HL-5340D does vary quite dramatically depending on which resolution you choose - actually more akin to an inkjet in approach.
The fastest mode (300dpi) may produce a real-world figure of 24ppm - quite close to the stated figure of 30ppm - which becomes even more impressive given that, of the 25 seconds needed, 10 of them were spent on warming up. The more pages you print, the higher the ppm figure will get.
However, the Brother HL-5340D's output, while dark, isn't as clean as you'd expect from a laser. Indeed, the slightly fuzzy lettering is closer in quality to that of a good inkjet. Admittedly such output is available at a much higher speed than would be the case on such an inkjet. But for high quality output you really do need to be looking to the 600dpi mode, which produces a less impressive figure of 18.7ppm.
The HQ 1200dpi mode produces slightly darker output at a rate of 17.6ppm. The best quality comes from the clean and precise raw 1200dpi mode, although the ppm does drop here to just 11.3 - not a particularly appetising figure for a laser.
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