If you have been thinking about buying a personal mono laser printer, now would be a good time to take the plunge, as prices are dropping while performance and quality are steadily going in the opposite direction. Brother’s latest laser printer, the HL-1440, is a good example of this; it’s fast and relatively cheap.
The HL-1440 uses a Fujitsu 66MHz processor, backed by a measly 2MB of memory as standard which can be upgraded to a maximum 34MB using the single DIMM slot. Despite this tiny memory count, the printer has surprisingly quick performance. Its time to first page is around 15 seconds and it prints up to a claimed maximum of 14ppm, although it only managed 11.5ppm using the USB 1.1 interface when tested. That’s to be expected – quoted figures are never truly representative of real world use.
But by way of compensation for this, the print quality is excellent. Text appears crisp and clear at its default 600dpi, as do graphics, and at the higher resolution of 1,200 x 600dpi even photographs appear smooth and sharp. The printer uses PCL4 emulation, so it’ll work with just about any operating system and software, and it comes with 24 resident bitmap fonts.
The HL-1440 is fitted with a parallel port and a USB 1.1 port and, as is often the case these days, no cable is supplied for either interface. Once you’ve managed to get hold of one, setting up the HL-1440 should present no further problems, as a well-written quick start guide walks you through the installation process. A nice touch is the inclusion of Flash troubleshooting animations that guide you through problems such as paper jams, empty toner cartridge, etc.
Despite its relative small size – 360mm (W) x 370mm (D) x 235mm (H) – the HL-1440 comes with a 250-sheet input and 150-sheet output tray, plus a single-sheet manual input feed tray. Supported media sizes include letter, legal executive, A4, A5, A6, B6, and envelopes. The HL-1440 takes plain paper, bond, transparencies, labels, and card stock up to 161gsm in the bypass tray.
Both the drum and toner cartridge have reasonable life spans; 20,000 pages at 5 per cent coverage on A4 paper for the drum and 3,000 for the toner cartridge. A larger 6,000 page toner cartridge is also available. With this spec, the HL-1440 would suit a small office environment with the installation of the optional 10/100Mbps networking card. Brother supports the HL-1440 with a one year RTB warranty.
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