The Brother HL-L2350DW is a strong contender in the monochrome laser printers category not because of any particularly impressive feature, but because of an array of features that blend well together.
- Decent mix of speed and output quality
- Good price
- Good size for a small office
- Acceptable running costs
- Lacks Ethernet port
In the category of modestly priced monochrome laser printers, the Brother HL-L2350DW matches performance and value: With a design small enough to be a good fit for a micro or home office, an affordable purchase price and significantly low running costs. On this line, you have competitors like the HP Laserjet Pro M281fdw, that promise even lower running costs but the initial price is almost double what you pay for the HL-L2350DW.
If your printing needs don’t exceed a few hundred pages each month, the Brother HL-L2350DW is the best candidate for your low-volume home-based or small office sharing. Plus, it also makes for an impressive monochrome laser printer for a medium workgroup.
Design and Features
For a micro-office where space saving is a priority –more than anything else, having a small size printer with the right features can’t get any better. Measuring 14.2 by 14 by 7.2 inches and weighing 15.9 pounds, the HL-L2350DW checks all those boxes. It is part of Brother’s list of lower-priced monochromes and as such comes with a small feature set. For instance, its paper handling consists of a single 250-page input tray with an augmented 1-sheet override slot.
Not that the HL-L2350DW’s competitors are any bigger or have a better feature set; a number have the size and weight, save for slight variation of an inch or pound (give or take). Paper handling is also similar too, with the likes of the Canon LBP162dw having the same 250-sheet tray, while the Dell S2830dn holds up to 350 sheets spread between a 250-sheet cassette and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray.
As for the monthly duty cycles, the Brother HL-L2350DW gets 15,000 pages, with a recommended print volume of up to 2,000 pages. It also features a built-in duplexer that facilitates two-sided printing. It suffices as the ideal printer for most personal or micro-office use. If your printing needs are something above basic, you’ll have to look elsewhere, since Brother doesn’t have any paper handling upgrades for the laser printer.
Setup and Connectivity
Setting up the HL-L2350DW is pretty straightforward. You can do it under 5 minutes, all you need is a powered Windows PC, perhaps a Windows 10 system, and everything else is typically standard for any USB-connected monochrome laser. All controls and features are managed from the printer’s minimalist control panel consisting a couple of buttons – power, Wi-Fi, Back, OK (Enter) and Minus (reducing number of copies) and the GO/Start button. It can also be managed over its built-in HTTPS encrypted website.
It has all the basic connectivity options you’d expect in a monochrome laser printer including: A standard Wi-Fi protocol, Wi-Fi Direct, and USB for connecting to a single PC (but lacks Ethernet), along with a few third-party provisions, such as Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Brother iPrint&Scan, that facilitates printing of emails and attachments.
Print Speed and Output Quality
The HL-L2340DW’s printer engine is rated at 32 pages per minute (ppm) by Brother, pretty fast for a sub-$150 printer. It’s ideally the speed you’d expect from similar monochromes, especially when printing text documents or any type of files that need little to no processing. The Canon LBP151dw, for example, is rated at only 4ppm lower, while Dell bills the S2830db at 3ppm higher.
Tested over an Intel Core i5-powered Windows 10 PC, the printer clocks 34ppm for a 13-page Microsoft Word document, which is almost 1ppm higher than the manufacturer’s rating. For a colored 4-by-6-inch snapshot that the printers in this category convert to grayscale, it delivers in 12 seconds, which is just about standard for a monochrome laser printer.
Remembering that the HL-L2340DW isn’t cut for printing sleek, glossy documents and images, then we appreciate its effort in what it is meant to do –churning reasonably attractive and highly detailed monochrome and grayscale documents. Text documents look pretty good, with impressive rendering of black-and-white text outputs, making it ideal for most small-office applications. Photo output isn’t the best, but its respectable for this class of printer as compared to competing models.
While entry-lever laser printers can be had cheaply, the running cost on a per-page basis are never good. Keeping that in mind, the HL-L2360DW’s 3.6 cents are about average with the rest of laser printers in this category. That’s how it’s meant to be, and if you plan on pushing it to the recommended 2,000-pages-per-month print volume, will kick you back about $720 each month. Its here that buying a higher-volume printer like the Brother MFC-L8900CDW (1 cent per page) for a few hundred more dollars upfront makes lots of sense.
But if you’ll be printing only a few hundred pages (maybe, 200 or 300) each month, then 3.6 cents isn’t badly off for your budget. What am trying to say is, first evaluate your needs and don’t be swayed by the skimpy sticker prices.
The Bottom Line
The Brother HL-L2350DW is a strong contender in the monochrome laser printers category not because of any particularly impressive feature, but because of an array of features that blend well together. It’s the right size for a small office, delivers a highly attractive balance of speeds, output quality, paper handling and many more. Granted, it doesn’t boast anything particularly thrilling for those looking for a color All-In-One printer, but as a single function printer it’s the best choice.
If your print needs per month exceed 2,000 pages, a more powerful machine like the Brother MFC-L8900CDW will deliver lower ongoing monthly running costs, though its costs more initially. But if all you need is a shared printer for a micro office, or a personal printer that makes mobile printing easy, with an overall balance of speed and output quality, the Brother HL-L2350DW is an easy pick as our Editors’ Choice.