Brother’s HL-5240 is (like HP’s Laserjet 2605) the personal version of a business printer that’s impressed us in the past. When we reviewed the HL-5250DN last year, we found it easy to set up, packed with features and very fast.
The HL-5240 isn’t as flush with features; it comes with neither the duplex unit nor the integrated network card of the bigger Brother, and ships with only 16MB of onboard memory as opposed to 32MB. Nevertheless, for personal use there’s still plenty to recommend it.
The HL-5240’s appeal starts with its design: while Epson and Samsung’s offerings appear more compact, their space requirements are bumped up by fold-out paper trays. The Brother’s more self-contained footprint is likely to fit more conveniently into your work area, although the multipurpose feed still folds out from the front, extending the printer’s depth by around 120mm.
This businesslike presence is matched by no-nonsense performance: the HL-5240 blazed through our standard tests at an average 28ppm, outclassing its monochrome rivals, yet still produced pin-sharp blacks and even gradients.
The limited onboard memory meant we couldn’t perform our high-quality tests at the printer’s maximum 1200dpi, but the results at 600dpi were still good, with gradients and photos appearing bold and sharp. Our only criticisms would be that some slight horizontal banding was discernible and, at just a few points along the gradient of black to white, the half-toning pattern became noticeable.
You might expect such a marriage of speed and performance to come at a premium, but although $298 nears the upper end of the mono price range the HL-5240’s high-yield consumables make it one of the most economical printers to run.
We calculated print costs at just 1.5c per page (see page 60 for the full chart). Over the long haul, Kyocera’s FS-920 works out slightly cheaper, owing to its longer-lasting parts, but the HL-5240 has advantages of speed and print quality, which are worth paying a little extra for.
Whatever you want from a mono-chrome laser printer, this is likely to exceed your expectations. To get the best from it, invest in a RAM upgrade, but even right out of the box it’s a great performer at a great price.
This Review appeared in the September 2007 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing