GCN LAB REVIEW—Printers
The Brother HL-4070CDW performs well and won’t break the bank
- By John Breeden II
- Sep 14, 2009
Pros: Excellent value, sharp text output
Cons: Some colors a bit off, problems printing letters over text
Color accuracy: B
Color speed: A-
B&W speed: A-
Government price: $499
With a government price of just $499 — and a list price of $799 — the Brother HL-4070 stands out for value in a tight field. You can almost buy three of them for the price of the most expensive printer in this review.
Products in this review:
When color matches quality and price
Epson B 500DN
Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet CP3525x
Panasonic KX MC6040
Xerox Phaser 6280
For such an inexpensive color printer, it also makes its mark in terms of extra features. It has USB walk-up printing capabilities that let users print documents from flash drives. Brother was a pioneer in this area, and most other companies have yet to follow.
Our only complaint, which we’ve lodged against other Brother printers in the past, is that the USB port is recessed too far into the unit. A lot of the key drives used in government are high-security models or rugged and come with thick cases that won’t fit into the hole provided by the HL-4070. Making the port flush with the edge of the printer would fix this problem without exposing it to any extra wear and tear.
The HL-4070 also has wireless printing capabilities. And its large LCD screen sits upright from the printer so you can easily select a document to print without first logging on to a connected computer. Most documents can be printed wirelessly or from a flash drive on the front of the machine.
In terms of speed, the HL-4070 was fast but not blazing. It burned through our 30-page text document in a respectable 1 minute, 33 seconds. It took a bit longer on the 30-page color test file, finishing in 1 minute, 55 seconds. The test file has a few large graphics, which accounts for the extra time on the more detailed test.
Although the HL-4070’s text looked crisp and readable, it was less reliable when printing color. Even something simple, such as colored text, tended to be a bit off. Green text came out looking olive, and yellow was printed too lightly to be easily readable. Those color errors also applied to photographs and colorful grid patterns. Photographs came out looking OK because of the mix of colors, with only slight distortions.
The HL-4070 also has trouble when text and graphics meet. Text printed over graphics sometimes had little halos around the letters, though this happened infrequently and seemingly at random.
Even with those color flaws, the HL-4070 proved to be a workhorse, never faltering even as hundreds of pages were pushed through it. If you are looking for an accurate color printer for photos or precise documents, the HL-4070 won’t suit your needs. But for just about everyone else, the HL-4070 is a great way to add adequate and reasonably fast color printing to your office. And it’s more than worth the low price, making it the best value in the review.
Brother International, 908-704-1700, www.brother.com
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.