Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Brother HL-2070N Review

Last Friday I installed a Brother HL-2070N monochrome laser printer in my home office. I ordered it from CDW.com and received it in 3 days.

The 2070N gives you the option of connecting it to a computer using a USB or parallel cable, or directly to your LAN via a 10/100 Ethernet port. It was this ability to connect directly to my LAN that sold me on the printer. I need to be able to print to it from Windows and Mac OS, and I'm sure that eventually Linux and BSD will find their way back onto my LAN, and I didn't want to deal with cross-platform printing issues. (Note: The documentation on the driver CD does include info about Linux compatibility, though I haven't delved into it yet.)

Setup required that I first install the driver on each machine; I started with my PC running Windows XP Professional. Along with the driver there's a printer management utility that's installed. Among other things it allows you to change the printer's IP address from DHCP (the default) to a static IP.

When I first installed the printer on the XP box it was still a DHCP client. The static IP that I specified was different from the dynamic IP, so I had to re-run the installer so that the TCP port was correctly setup. Under XP, the Brother is installed as a network accessed LPR printer.

With printing from the PC working, I moved the driver CD to my iBook. Driver installation required one reboot, after which I opened Applications > Utilities > Printer Setup Utility.app. I told PSU.app to scan the local network for Bonjour-compatible printers and the Brother came right up. It installed the Brother as my default printer, and I then printed a document as a test. It worked perfectly, spooling the job and sending it off to the Brother.

The Brother's paper tray hold 250 sheets, fine for this class of device. It warms up quickly and once it starts printing, spits out pages at a claimed 20 pages per minute. It seems faster than my old Samsung ML-1710, which was rated for 17 PPM. Text quality is good. Image quality is OK, but nothing to rave about. For my needs the output quality is just fine.

Aside from the aforementioned Windows-only management app, the HL-2070N can be managed over the network through a browser. It seems to work fine in Camino. The Brother can also be configured to email alerts to an administrator, or be managed via SNMP using the Windows management application.

I read a few online reviews where people complained that the paper curled on output. I haven't seen that so it may just be the paper that people were using. I suspect this may be an issue with cheap copier paper, but the HP laser printer paper that I'm using doesn't curl.

Based on the ease of setup, multiple platform compatibility, and good output, the Brother HL-2070N is worth strong consideration for use in a small or home office when you need an inexpensive monochrome laser printer.


Peter said...

Earlier this year I bought the Brother HL5250 printer. Again I have to say GREAT printer. Works like a charm on the network, no issues from either Linux, XP or Vista.

Anonymous said...

i have a problem using this printer. The red light for "paper" problem is persistent. Even if the paper tray is full the printer still detects error.
I want to know where and how the printer sensor works.

Dave Markowitz said...

You should contact Brother for support.