Brother HL-2035 £70
23rd Jan 2009 | 11:20
Compact and competent printing for a great price
Brother has followed the usual template for a budget laser printer with the HL-2035, with a footprint no deeper than a sheet of A4 paper.
The flap drops down to reveal the toner and drum that pulls out to the front. These are separate units that clip together, so there is a tiny amount of engineering to perform when it's time for a refill.
The starter cartridge supplied with the printer is good for 1,000 pages, after which you'll have to buy either a 1500-page TN2005 cartridge for £29 (inc. VAT) or 2p per page, or you could opt for a slightly larger 2500-page TN2000 that works out slightly cheaper at 1.9p per page.
There are three warning lights on the printer for Toner, Drum and Error. The Toner light is self-explanatory and the same appears to be true of the Drum light, until you learn that the 12,000-page DR2000 drum costs the same £59 (inc. VAT) as a whole new printer. Common-sense says that the Drum light should be replaced with one that says Scrap.
The Error light is vexing as it glows red whenever you run out of paper. A Paper Out light, on the other hand, is helpful without being scary. Hooking up the printer is simple, as the only option is a USB 2.0 connection. If you need a network version, the most basic model is the £99 HL-2150N.
Great value printer
At this stage, you may think the Brother is a cheap and cheerful printer that has no place in the home office, but we'd like to put you straight. The print speed won't break any records at a true 15ppm, but it churns out pages fast enough to satisfy a single user.
The revelation is that the print quality from the Brother HL-2035 is impeccable and that makes it a genuinely useful tool. While duplex and networking have their place on more expensive models, this is a dirt-cheap printer that is also cheap to run.
In fact, it's so cheap that we strongly recommend you get one to sit next to your photo printer, as we predict it will pay for itself in no time at all.