If you’ve never come across the phrase electrophotographic LED technology before, then that’s probably because this printing method (which uses almost 5,000 light emitting diodes to create an image) has only recently been devised as a rival to laser technology which uses a combination of laser beams, mirrors and lenses to produce the equivalent effect.
Brother claims to be the first manufacturer to have developed in-house printer engines using all four printer technologies (thermal and inkjet are the others) and the HL-3070CW is intended to help small businesses produce low-volume, laser quality results with a more compact machine.
And this elegantly designed black and cream single-function printer is certainly compact (409 x 466 x 250mm). Although it’s a sturdy 19.5kg out of the carton, it won’t require four people to manoeuvre it into place. Simple to set up, you just lift the front lid, slide the four large cartridges into place and then use the supplied installation disk to configure the connection with your PC.
You have three options for that connection: Ethernet, USB or wireless. Hopefully you’ll be principally buying this printer for its wireless option and it’s relatively painless to establish a connection, despite the fact that it uses the comparatively old-fashioned method of using a lead initially to get both machines to recognise each other.
As this is essentially a low-volume printer, you have a 250-sheet input tray at the front (unfortunately no option to add another below) with a single-sheet feeder above and no ADF at the top. Should you need it, there’s a one-line, 16-character LCD display which can be used for most settings, although the accompanying software will sort most of it out for you. Documents can also be printed via the direct USB port at the front and for safety’s sake there’s a Secure Print button so you can password protect your work.
Once we got past the initial warm-up time of around 30 seconds, black text documents at both Normal and Fine settings emerged in around 17ppm (slightly ahead of Brother’s claimed 16ppm), while text and colour assignments managed 7ppm at Fine level and 9ppm at Normal (somewhat under the target 16ppm). The highest print resolution is 600 x 2400dpi and the results were remarkably clear and crisp for an LED printer, with very little variation between the Normal and Fine settings.
Overall we were quite impressed with the performance of the HL-3070CW. Even though the colour sharpness wouldn’t be recommended for photos, in most other respects it does pretty much what you would hope for a printer in this class.
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