The Brother HL-3070CW colour printer is one of the company's first to use LED technology. Competing with entry-level colour laser printers, the HL-3070CW is reasonably quick and it's easy to set up.
While network printers aren't noted for their chiseled good looks, the Brother HL-3070CW is remarkably unprepossessing. Its bi-coloured livery makes for a slightly jarring effect that isn't eased by the enormous depth of this printer - just 250mm high, it nevertheless stretches back for a good 466mm.
Despite its low-slung appearance, the footprint is sizeable. The front is festooned with buttons - four alone are dedicated to the control pad used with the simple LCD display.
At least the navigation system is logical and easy to use. And one very useful addition is a Secure Print control, adding PIN protection to your files - you'll have to enter the PIN before the Brother starts printing them out, ensuring that other users can't look at your confidential print-outs before you have physically reached the printer. A USB port on the front of the printer completes the bonuses.
The paper handling is decent for a low-price colour laser; up to 250 sheets can be stored in the smooth paper tray. You can feed in additional sheets through a special feeder, and this gives you the option of using two different sizes. Admittedly, being just a single sheet feed, this isn't of great use. Nonetheless, up to 251 sheets is quite adequate for a low-grade laser printer.
There are no options for upgrading its paper handling, so you can't go beyond 250 sheets. The 100-sheet output is a touch disappointing. Given the huge depth of the printer, we expected it to have a deep output tray recessed into the top of the printer.
Unfortunately, much of the printer's roof consists of a flat surface, increasing the chance of sheets falling to the floor and being trampled underfoot. The paper catch works moderately well, and the printer is wide enough that most of the sheets will stay put. Nonetheless, you won't want this printer to be placed where there are regular gusts of wind.
The connectivity options on this printer are notable. Despite its relatively low cost, the Brother HL-3070CW comes with wired 10/100 ethernet and wireless 802.11b/g options. 802.11n isn't supported. The 64MB of memory isn't substantial, but you can upgrade this to a significant 576MB, should you have large files to print out.
It may not have the largest selection of fonts on board, but PCL6 and BR-Script3 (Brother's PS3 rendition) are supported.
The Brother HL-3070CW has two main quality modes - standard 600dpi, and a special 2400dpi mode. The difference in speed between the two is little over 0.1ppm, but the 2400dpi mode often proved too dark. The 600dpi mode is quite reasonable. Text is churned out at a competitive rate of 13.6ppm. The Epson and HP are both faster, but not by much.
Characters aren't the darkest or the most cleanly defined, but the quality is acceptable. In graphics, the Brother lacked a little detail in places, and the colour palette was a touch overcast.
The Brother HL-3070CW has some of the dearest running costs in the test. Although 2.4p for a page of mono may sound okay, it's still the third most expensive in the category. Move to colour printing, and its figure of 10.7p again makes it one of the most expensive of all.
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