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In September 2010 I found myself getting ready for my first year of university, the thought of going back to education having worked full-time for a few years was scary even though I had recently completed a certificate with the Open University. However there are many differences between submitting work at the OU and submitting work at a brick university and one of those is that with the OU I could submit everything online whereas at brick university I would be expected to submit my essays on paper and not just one copy but two! Which meant that because I was leaving home and moving away I would have to buy my own printer for the first time...
The decision making process:
There are a whole variety of different printers available today. Deskjet, inkjet, laserjet, ones that just print, ones that print, copy, fax and do everything else under the sun, so choosing a printer can be a difficult decision. Having done a bit of research it seemed that the general consensus was that printers which do a bit of everything may be a bit slower (particularly the cheap ones) and the colour printers seemed to use ink quite quickly which meant a lot of expenditure on cartridges which would not be practical considering I would be on a student budget! However it seemed that if you were happy to just print in black then a laserjet printer would be the best bet as the toner cartridges tend to last longer and they print quite quickly.
Another important consideration is what you're actually using your printer for. Do you use fax regularly? Do you need to photocopy on a frequent basis or are there cheap facilities for that nearby? Do you want to be able to print pictures and photos? Or are you just going to be printing documents? I decided that I would mainly just be wanting to print essays and maybe other forms and information I might need, I didn't want to start printing photos because it would cost too much in ink and so I deduced that I just wanted a basic laser printer but I didn't want to pay too much!
Buying the Brother HL 2030:
This was an easy find for me. I had a look at DooYoo and some other review sites to get information about the top rated laser printers and then had a search around to find one which was rated well but was also fairly cheap! Another important consideration was the price of the replacement cartridges because in some cases the replacement toner can cost more than the printer itself! Luckily for me I found this printer selling at Rymans online for half the price, £40 instead of £80/90.
Replacement toner cartridges:
The replacement toner for this printer retails at around £25 for a branded toner and around £18 for a compatible toner which is not made by Brother. Which you choose to buy depends on how fussy you are about branding. However I will say that I've had this printer for just over a year and have not yet had to change the toner cartridge and it's showing no signs of running out anytime soon. I'm not a heavy printer user but when I am printing essays I'm having to print 20/30 pages at a time so that should give you some idea of my usage.
This is a sturdy printer which isn't too big and is not too heavy if it needs to be moved around. Everything is within easy reach, there is a paper tray in the front of the printer which pulls out, switches are on the side and the USB lead plugs into the back. It is not too noisy when it prints and as it prints very quickly it doesn't make noise for very long. It does continue to make a background noise if it's standing by after it's finished printing but if you've finished printing you can just turn it off and that eradicates that problem!
I can only comment on setting this up on a Mac computer because I don't have a Windows PC but any Mac user will know that sometimes finding Mac compatible components can be difficult (even in this day and age) or setting them up can be tricky. Let me tell you that this is not a problem with this printer! I've not had to use the software which comes with the printer, I literally just had to plug the USB cable into both the printer and my Mac and my Mac recognised the printer straight away and so I could make it my default printer in the control panel and print to it straight away. It really was that simple and I've never had any problems printing.
For PC users the printer comes with software so you can install it and I would imagine that the process is fairly simple.
This printer prints documents very quickly but there's no sacrifice on quality. Everything I've printed has been clear and good quality with no smudge marks and the ink dries quickly so there's no worry about accidentally smudging the ink by picking it up too soon after printing.
This is an excellent printer and well suited to anyone who wants a simple printer without lots of bells and whistles. It prints quickly and efficiently, is easy to use and set up and is highly cost effective. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
I bought this Brother HL 2030 printer for business use nearly 2 years ago from Staples for about £30.00 at the time. I use it about a couple of times a week and I'm still on the original 'starter' toner! Granted it's not been used every single day, but in my opinion it's a great little laser printer for home or light office use.
I've not had any problems with it, even when there's been power cuts it's not died on me. Surprisingly for such a low value entry level printer it does a great job and has always been reliable and fairly quick to print my documents out.
I also use it for printing on DL envelopes and in all the time I've owned it, it's only ever once jammed on me (and that was user error rather than printer error - I didn't put the paper in the tray properly!).
I've only ever used HP or Kyocera laser printers in the past, so I was a bit apprehensive about buying this printer but I have to say, I think I made a very good purchase.
Being a low value laser printer it does lack certain features such as an RJ45 port for connecting to a hub/router (only has USB) and higher DPI output, but that aside I highly recommend this printer to everyone.
Both my partner and I had been using the Dell all-in-one printer than came with her computer for some time. It was ok. It obviously printed in colour and had a scanner. However, I was becoming pretty annoyed at how much ink it used up when only printing in black and white. You see, this printer, in all its infinite wisdom only had one ink cartridge - of the 3 colours - and so used them all to print in black and white.
As I was expecting my need for printing in black and white to increase - final year university, so lots of reports, lecture notes, and research from the internet - and since the costs at the uni were so expensive I decided to investigate laser printers.
What I was after was a good quality, cheap printer which wouldn't be obtrusive. That is one that isn't too loud, and isn't overly sized, and looks good. I also wanted one that printed in good quality, and didn't take ages to spool. Not that I'm fussy or anything!
After a lot of indecision, and going round in circles comparing printers I plumped for the Brother HL-2030. It also has its bigger 'brothers' (sorry pun unintended at time of writing) the HL-2040 and HL-2070, but I didn't think the 2040 offered much more for the money, and whilst I would have ideally liked a network printer it was out of my budget.
So - to the main point of this review - what is it like???
*** Appearance ***
It comes packaged well, in a sturdy box, with the instructions, and driver CDs easily accessible. The printer itself is I think very attractive, in a plain (grey) get-on-with-the-job way. It is very small, official dimensions list it as being W 371mm, D 361mm, H 166mm. And it has an integrated paper tray holding 250 sheets. All this make it a compact, and lightweight device able to take its place on the desktop without being an eye-sore, or tucked on a shelf/under a desk.
*** Installation ***
The printer comes with two sets of driver CDs. One for Windows Vista, and one for Windows XP and earlier. At the time my computer was running XP, and so I inserted the CD and followed the instructions as per the CD. It even tells you when to connect the USB cable to your PC. All in all I was up and running in no time.
It was the same situation when installing it on my partner's computer using Windows Vista, follow the instructions and voila! However, at Christmas I got a new PC, with Windows Vista 64-bit. On installing the software from the CD as per the Vista installation disk it didn't seem to detect the printer properly. I had to go to Brother's website and download an updated driver. Having done this everything was back to normal - the printer was connected as it had been on my XP PC. It is just one of those things that comes with having a 64-bit operating system (as I am finding out every now and again).
*** Application ***
So, my printer is now installed and ready to use. But did it meet up to my expectations. Yes. It has exceeded what I expected of it. It prints in very good quality (2400 x 600dpi at max quality), and very quickly too. It has a power save mode, whereby it switches itself of after a period of time, which serves to both save power, and reduces its noise.
The only problem with this printer is when it comes to printing light colours as greyscale. In many cases you can't make out what was clearly defined on screen. The only area where this has been a problem for me is in printing roadmaps from the internet (such as multimap or live maps), whereby it is hard to see the actual roads, and all you can see is the road names!!!
Other than this the printer has functioned well above any expectations or standards that I had set, and I am pleased with my purchase.
*** Value ***
This is where this printer really excels. For its price (under £70 when I bought it from PC World) it is a truly phenomenal machine, and performs on all levels. The cost of toner and drums are relatively cheap compared to some models currently out on the market, and they also allow more pages to be printed than some too.
*** Conclusion ***
All this boils down to a very practical, and affordable laser printer that I believe is/and certainly should be a market leader.
(Please note also on Ciao)
When I was attending university, I remembered wondering what type of sport I might like to try. Going down through the list of ones available, I quickly realized that I was not big enough or tall enough to play most of the ones currently on offer. However, there was one that certainly sounded intriguing and that was Greco-Roman wrestling. Being in what I felt was pretty good shape at the time, I decided to try out for the team.
Picture the moment as I enter the training area all suited up and waiting for my first opponent on the mat. With a few people onlooking the scene, the coach signalled that we were to shake hands and prepare to wrestle. The guy looked about my size and I figured he didn't have but a few pounds on me. My arm and leg muscles certainly seemed larger than the guy opposite me, so I safely presumed that I could take him on and beat him quite handily. The bell rang and the wrestling match was on.
Now, at this point you may be wondering what in the world this has to do with a review on printers!! Well, I am glad you asked. You see there are actually several similarities between my experience in the ring and the latest addition to my printer collection. For those of you who have read my other reviews, you will know that I have written on the Brother HL-1230 as well as the Hewlett Packard HP4. So what are these similarities:
1. Like myself in the ring for the first time, most printers are sized up like one sizes up an opponent. If you are bigger, and heavier, and have more muscles, you automatically assume that you will be the best. When I decided to go out looking for a new laser printer, I used the same method at first and shopped for something that I felt was going to be a real monster that could obviously beat up the competition. The printer I eventually settled on is made by Brother and is the HL-2030 model. It is not colour, but prints in black or grey-scale only. My new machine is small enough to fit on just about any size workstation or even a small shelf and unlike the HL-1230 that I own, it is fully contained in its own footprint with no paper trays sticking out the back requiring more room.
2. As I quickly found out in my first match, looks are definitely deceiving but not before it was too late to rethink my own strategy for winning. I was wearing a colourful outfit while my opponent was wearing a simple, single-coloured garment. So too, with the printer I was looking for, I realized that fancy was not important and was pleased when I took the box containing my Brother HL-2030 home and set it up in my office. I took it out and took a few moments to admire the stylish design. Gadgets and gizmos do not make for a perfect fighting machine in your office. The HL-2030 is simple to use and prints A4, legal, and will even do envelopes in a pinch.
3. With hardly a grunt, my opponent moved in a speed that was similar to greased lightning and I found myself involved in the additional sport of breakdancing - that is to say, breaking my neck trying to dance out of his way before I got pinned to the floor! So back to the printer as it comes out of the box - it hardly makes much more noise than the occasional grunt as it settles down to get the job done in a most efficient manner. It was a snap to simply plug the machine in, follow the simple instructions on the menu-driven installation CD, and in just about 5 minutes, I was pinning my first document to the mat. The little machine was impressive as it quickly started punching out documents at up to 16ppm.
4. In addition, I found that my opponent had not fallen into the trap that I had. He relied on the skills that he was good at in order to gain the advantage instead of trying various fancy tactics in order to try and win the day. He came to the mat prepared to win no matter what I or anybody else thought of him. As I looked at my printer, I realized that it was quite similar and was prepared to tackle several jobs with the ease not found in other similarly priced laser printers. It works just as easily with PC's as well as Apples (which is convenient as I am getting ready to switch to a Mini-Mac!!).
5. As I faced my opponent in the wrestling match, I quickly realized that the reservoir of special features I could bring to the mat were not adequate enough to handle the task of nailing this guy to the floor. As I sit here and admire my HL-2030, there are plenty of additional features that are more than adeuqate enough to win the day for most home and small business offices. These include a 250 sheet paper tray and the ability to print in high quality format which is 2400dpi x 600dpi. The machine also comes with a USB connector which makes it that much easier to use with any machine including a quick connect to that laptop for printing off the latest report or whatever.
Well to conclude, if you have not guessed by now despite my sad attempts at both breakdancing and Greco-Roman wrestling, I realized as I lay pinned to the mat that I well out of my league. He may have looked smaller than me and did not have my flashy stule or technizes, but he knew what I did not and that was he did not need those things in order to win the day. Needless to say, I decided that Greco-Roman wrestling was not for me and after complimenting my opponent, I changed and left never looking back.
Brother machines may not be the flashiest, the heaviest or have all the neatest buttons and gadgest, but it will get the job done for you. A purchase well worth the less than £95 that I paid for my mine. In fact, since purchasing my first one, my business partner and I purchased one for use in our busines premises and he also purchased one for his own home. It is clearly a winner not only in its own weight range but can even stand up and pin many of the more expensive black and white laser printers that you could get stuck with. Consumables like toner cartridges can be purchased at less than £50 if you look around and will print depending on amount of ink used as much as 7000 copies and the drum is good for up to 15,000 copies.
Oh, one other note - no other printers were harmed in the writing of this review!