If you are looking for a wireless laser printer with sensible operating costs and prints in black and white, then can the Brother HL-L2350DW be an alternative?
Printers are (along with routers) one of the more intricate product categories when it comes to electronics – especially if you look at the user experience they leave with consumers. Now, after all, most of the reviews work at both price comparison sites and retailers in Sweden agree that just Brother HL-L2350DW is a pretty good printer. However, if you take a look abroad, at e.g. Amazon and other stores, it is a blissful mix of ratings where the printer one moment gets the rating “Best Printer Ever” while others give it a star with the comment “Does not work at all”.
Not quite easy then. Regardless. I needed a new printer for the office and since it is basically exclusively black and white prints left over Wi-Fi produced, the choice ultimately fell on just Brother HL-L2350DW. How does it stand up to the reviews and is there any truth in the problems some users raise or is it the “best printer ever”? I’ll try to figure that out here!
A fairly large, small printer
In terms of appearance, there is not much to talk about when it comes to HL-L2350DW. The design is simple, the color choice is mostly classic computer gray and the whole piece feels very robust with a match weight of just over seven kilos. Especially compared to many other laser printers in the same price segment (yes, I’m looking at you, HP). Should I remark on something is that the moving parts (paper tray, paper holder, etc.) are a bit in the more rickety direction. But still fully within acceptable levels.
In terms of connections, there is also quite a bit to mention here. Aside from Wi-Fi connection, in addition to the connection for power, there is only one standard USB-B connector located on the back. The paper tray can hide 250 pages at a time and the printer supports both single-sided and double-sided printing (duplex).
The installation (which received the most complaints)
By far the most common complaint in consumer reviews of Brother HL-L2350DW is that the installation over Wi-Fi is difficult to understand and implement. Here I still have to give a little support when even I (yes, I think I should be able to install a printer without help) had to glance at the manual to realize that the printer actually had a whole lot of settings packed in different menus and submenus. Here was also the start-up guide for Wi-Fi a little insidiously tucked under Network> WLAN> Setup wizard.
Something that sounds logical, but somehow it felt even more logical to press the button called just Wi-Fi in the hope that some form of installation would get started. Wi-Fi however, the button started and instead an automatic connection process to the stored Wi-Fi network (which had not yet been stored). A slip-up that eventually required a classic jerk-cable reboot to fix.
So yes, the installation could have been more logical. But with the help of the manual, everything still went quite smoothly and as soon as the printer was up on the network, it quickly became popular with everything from computers to phones. However, I still do not really understand why manuals for printers should necessarily be so annoyingly messy. Although Brothers variants are pretty okay there is a lot to improve here too. Something that would both benefit the user-friendliness and thereby probably also reduce the costs for customer service calls regarding installation help, etc. But what do I know?
Duplex, Wi-Fi, AirPrint and Google Cloud Print
Oh well. Functionally, the printer offers support for most technologies and devices you may need. After using the printer for about four to five months (sometimes it takes time to put together a text), it has worked flawlessly, apart from one thing. Or a function rather. Namely the printer’s so-called Deep Sleep-location.
This kicks in by default after that HL-L2350DW not talk to any other device at a particular time and is intended to save energy. The problem, at least in my case, was that the printer refused to wake up Deep Sleepmode. This resulted in the printer not being found when it was time to print and then triggering a walk to physically restart it by pressing any of the buttons below the display.
According to Brothers own instructions, the printer should wake up Deep Sleep nor does it completely shut down automatically as long as it is connected to a network. Something that does not seem to be true. Thankfully, it can be turned off Deep Sleepsetting by doing the following. The funny thing in this context is that these instructions are not provided by Brother, but abounds around on YouTube and other forums. So I’m obviously not alone in this problem. I also could not keep up and of course made my own video for you who suffer from the same worries.
Turn off the Deep Sleep feature of the Brother HL2350DW
- Navigate to General Setup> Ecology> Sleep Time.
- Press down BackAnd Minus buttons at the same time to access the “secret” Deep Sleepmenu.
- Push here OK followed by one of the two arrow keys to activate the function Off.
- Finish by pressing OK and go back to the main menu.
Actual use for a long time
Apart from the hassle of Deep Sleep and the function’s energy saving settings, however, I have in principle only good to say about Brother HL-L2350DW. From going through a lot of printer brands over the years and experiencing everything from paper jams to wireless printers that required a USBcable to be installed on the network, this feels – finally – like a healthy fan in terms of actual use.
After turning off Deep Sleepmode, the printer has not shown a single problem as previously mentioned. It just worked. Which is exactly what a printer should do. To top it all off, the prints are also really good for coming from a monochrome laser printer in the lower price range. The speed for printing is specified at 30 pages per minute, which seems to be quite true. However, the printer is not silent, but makes some noise while it is working. But compared to other printers, it does not feel extremely loud in any way.
Another nice detail is that Brother sends with a toner cartridge that fixes about 700 prints. A fairly generous start, which they are also very transparent with (compared to many other manufacturers who would like to make one believe that the printer comes with full cartridges).
Buying new toner costs just under SEK 900 for the 3000-page variant. Which gives a printing cost of about 30 cents per page. If you take into account that the drum can handle about 12,000 prints again and costs around SEK 800 to replace, the actual cost over time lands at about 36 öre per printed page. A perfectly okay sum in this context.