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We have been using these Brother printer HL2150N at work for over three years now, and I must say it is the most consistent and quality printer for its price range. I have purchased 3 of these for the organisation i work for, each serving three to four members of staff, who all use it on a medium usage basis. By this I mean about 20 - 50 sheets each, per day.
It's not the prettiest printer ever, but lets be fair, no printers are THAT good to look at. It is mainly grey in colour, with minimal buttons on it, which makes it very easy to use and more importantly, hard to break. I find the colour and the simplicity combined makes it look sort of retro, but that's just my opinion. Either way, it's size makes it relatively portable and fits on a decent sized desk very easily.
As this printer only prints in black, the level of print quality I can review is limited. What I can say is the quality is incredibly consistent, clear and concise. The printer has separate toner and drum, which saves on money when only one part is empty. Although the toner is quite an expense ( around £50 for original Brother toner) each lasts for around 2000 pages. The drum is slightly more expensive, at around £80, but I find this only needs to be replaced very rarely. In fact, each printer I have have only had to be replaced once in its three year life span. Although the drum is pretty much the same price as the printer, I have found you can haggle with stationary companies (Viking direct, staples, local stationary companies) if you are willing to buy in bulk. I tend to buy three at a time and tend to get about 15% discount through a local supplier.
As I mentioned above, this is a brilliant printer. I have found it to be an excellent and stress free purchase for a small office environment. The only downside would be it is only capable of manual duplex printing, which can be wasteful on paper but for the price range its fine.
I originally bought the Brother 2150N a year ago to replace an older model, the 1250N which was also a mono laser printer which I had been using for a few years and had decided to give up on me altogether. Already having previously owned a Brother, I decided to buy Brother again because of the reliability of their printers and the fact that they last so long. As I print at least 15 pages of Word and PDF documents a day, I only needed a mono laser printer, a printer which only prints in black and white rather than a fancy colour printer. I bought this from Oyyy.co.uk after a good shop around and got it for £99 including delivery, but sadly a year on this printer is still at a similar price on the internet, for those who may consider buying it.
First Impressions and Overall Appearance
Straight out of the box you can see immediately that this printer is very basic. There is only the Go Button that is located on the front of the printer and 3 LED lights: Toner LED, Drum LED and Error LED. These essentially demonstrate to you at a first glance how simple and easy this printer is to use. It is a little heavy, being a laser printer you would expect it to be. The box includes the printer itself, 2 installation CDs (1 for Windows Vista, Mac and all previous versions and 1 for Windows 7), a quick set-up guide, the drum unit and a toner cartridge and the AC power cord. The design itself is pretty good, the colour scheme of white with navy blue goes well with the printer and the smooth chamfered edges add to the overall look of this printer. Clearly this isn't by no means the best looking printer available, but because of its function of being a mono laser printer, Brother has made this printer for those who care about printing performance rather than looks. Initial set-up will take no longer than a few minutes, as all I had to do was insert the drum and toner cartridge, connect he power cord and add paper to the paper tray. Please be aware that you will need a USB interface cable to connect the printer to your PC or Mac which isn't supplied, but can be usually purchased from an electronics store for around £10. Installing the printer on your PC or Mac is also a doddle. If you're using a Mac as I do, it should automatically detect the printer and you will be able to print as soon as you connect the printer to your Mac. However, for PC users you will need to use the Installation CD provided to install all the relevant information onto your PC, but this doesn't take very long at all. It is important to point out that if at any point you do have problems or issues, the guide provided in the printer box is extremely helpful. There are step by step stages for installing the printer as well as annotated diagrams which make the installation even easier. I'm confident that anyone could install this printer because of how detailed and well made the quick set-up guide for this printer is. Furthermore, the CD's provided also guide you through each step of the installation which is great if you haven't purchased a printer like this before.
Basic Printer Features and Operation
As I have mentioned this is a mono laser printer, meaning it will only print in black and white. It is ideal if you're printing large amounts of Word, PDF and other documents at home or in offices, but if you're looking for a printer which prints great quality colour photos, this isn't it. This is why I believe it would appeal to office workers or home users who tend to print black and white documents on a regular basis. Because Brother has targeted this sort of market, it has many features which would appeal to such buyers. On average the Brother 2150N prints 22 pages per minute which is pretty impressive considering it is a small compact mono laser printer (larger more expensive office printers can print up to 30ppm). It will print a maximum paper size of A4 which I'm sure is the regular printing size, but not any bigger than this as the paper tray can only hold paper as big as A4. The paper tray itself can hold up to 250 sheets of paper but this depends on the thickness and type of paper you use. The resolution of the printer or how clear the text and images appear is 240dpi × 600dpi (or dots per minute) which isn't as high as colour printers which have a 4800dpi × 1200dpi resolution on average. When your printing it operates like any other printer you have and the LED Go Button will flash blue every time you have sent a print job to the printer to let you know that something is being printed. The advantage of having these LED buttons is that you know if the printer is having any problems, as each one will flash accordingly. Hence if the toner is low the Toner LED will flash indicating the toner needs replacing. The Drum LED indicates when the drum is nearing the end of its life and the Error LED indicates either there is no paper, a paper jam or if the printer cover is open. Loading the paper tray is a doddle too as the paper tray just slides out and you can insert your paper straight into it. This printer is really simple to operate as I said before so you can use it day in day out and not worry about anything going wrong.
Toner and Drum Life
The toner life on this printer is pretty impressive, as since the last year I have only replaced the toner 3 or 4 times, considering I print at least 5 pages during a weekday if not more with this printer. When the toner is low the Toner LED will flash yellow telling you that it needs to be replaced and even if you don't replace the toner immediately it will last you a week or so before it totally runs out. Being a laser printer and using toners instead of ink cartridges means that you will be able to print much more than if you were using an inkjet printer and this is ideal if you using this to print only black and white documents on a regular basis. From personal experience the toners themselves aren't too expensive to replace. I buy compatible toners that do the same job as the original Brother toners but are half the price and retail at around £20 to £25 and help to save money. The Drum life is 12000 pages so it will be a considerable amount of time before you will have to consider replacing this. Even for me this will be a few years! However when you do need to replace it you will have to fork out around £80 or so for a new drum. This is quite a bit to pay for and some would consider buying a new printer altogether but as I said this is something that you will need to think about a long time after you purchase this printer.
Other Additional Features
This printer in comparison to other Brother printers I have had in the past isn't too loud when it is printing. Having even used it during the night whilst everyone is sleeping, I can honestly say you can't hear it. The thing that lets this printer down the most is that fact that it isn't wirelessly enabled, something that tends to be quite common in many of the printers on sale these days. I'm sure that if it did have a wireless feature I wouldn't be able to fault this printer at all and it is a feature that is essential for this type of printer. Brother also provide a 12 month warranty on this printer which is great if anything goes wrong within the first year of your purchase as they will replace any parts or the entire printer in accordance to their warranty.
Ease of Use
The 2150N is extremely simple to use as I've mentioned before. Brother have made this print very easy for almost anyone to use, especially through their use of the 4 LED lights. This means that you can easily resolve any problems that you may have as one of the LED lights on the printer will flash according to whichever problem that the printer is having. You can easily turn on your PC or Mac and print away once you have installed the printer software; it is as easy as that. Replacing paper and cartridges are also quick and easy to do. My kids use this most of the time and they have no problem at all printing off all their school work and what not and so far it hasn't caused me any problems what so ever. I honestly can't recommend this printer enough for people who are looking for something easy to use on a regular basis, which prints in black and white, as this printer fits the role perfectly.
I honestly believe this printer is the best laser mono printer I have ever had and I'm sure it will last me many years to come. Brother have really created a easy to use and professional printer that will print quality black and white documents and be quite cheap to maintain. Clearly the lack of a wirelessly enabled function lets this printer down slightly and is likely to put some people off. However, with a quick printing speed and long toner life, the Brother 2150N is a truly superb mono laser printer.