The HL-4150CDN is part of a new range of laser printers from Brother that offer colour printing at an affordable price and are designed for those who need a printer that can churn out a lot of documents on a daily basis.
This one is priced at around £300 and also has a duplexer, so it can automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper.
Most manufacturers creating laser printers for business users don’t really bother themselves with trying to make their devices look aesthetically appealing, but with its cuboid design and white side panels, the 4250CDN is a bit more attractive than most, especially as the white contrasts nicely with the dark grey finish of the main body of the printer.
The control panel is quite basic, as it comprises just a two-line monochrome flip-up screen and a mere seven buttons, but the menu system isn't all that complicated, so it's still relatively easy to use.
One interesting feature is the secure printing functionality. You can add a security code to documents via the printer driver, so the printer will store them in memory until someone presses the Secure button and enters a passcode to release them. This is handy if you're in a shared office and need to print off more sensitive documents such as salary information or confidential letters.
On the front, just under the control panel, Brother has added a USB port. This isn’t for printing photos from PictBridge cameras, but instead allows you to print documents like PDF files and JPEG and TIFF images directly from memory keys.
The bottom of the printer houses a slot in cassette-style paper tray that can hold up to 250 sheets at a time and there's a 500 sheet tray available as an option if you've got particularly demanding print needs. Above this tray, hidden behind a pull-down panel, there's a 50 sheet feeder tray for odd-sized papers and envelopes.
As with most laser printers, all the printed material gets fed into a recessed paper tray at the top of the machine and there's a small flip-up piece that helps to stop pages from falling off the front of the tray.
To get this model up and running, you first have to pull open a panel at the front to release the plastic tabs that protect the slide-out tray which houses the four toner cartridges.
Once you’ve done this you can load up the drivers on your computer (both Windows and Mac drivers are supplied) and choose one of two connection methods – Ethernet or USB (sadly, Wi-Fi isn’t supported). It's all pretty straight forward stuff, so no matter which connection option you choose you should be up and running in a matter of minutes.
Speed, quality and cost
For a colour model in this price range, the 4150CDN turns out to be a fairly pacey performer in terms of print speed. Our ten page black and white text document was delivered in 36 seconds, while a colour version of the same document took an almost equally speedy 39 seconds. Our colour graphics ten page test was a little bit slower at 57 seconds, but it was faster at our colour business presentation, producing this ten page document in a fairly rapid 35 seconds.
Brother has also added a duplexer to this model so it can automatically print both sides of a page. The duplexer actually behaves a bit differently than those on rival models as it can work on two pages at a time to speed up the process somewhat. This helped it to print a double sided black and white version of our text document in 54 seconds, which is a good speed for a duplex model.
The 4150CDN also puts in a fairly good showing in terms of print quality. Black and white
text, especially, is dense and cleanly formed. Colours are also rich and bold, too. However,
colour accuracy is a little off, with colour documents looking a good
deal darker than the original. One side effect of this was that orange blocks on our business
presentation were a little bit too red compared onscreen colours. Also, there was some slight
banding on large blocks of colour.
Running costs are quite reasonable, though. Using high capacity toner cartridges, a black and white sheet works out at 1.9p, while a colour page will set you back 8.4p. Both those prices include 0.7p for paper costs and work out cheaper than many competitors models with similar price tags.
Its colour print-outs may be a little bit dark for some tastes, but the 4150's modest running costs and fast print speed still make it a good bet for those who need to produce a lot of colour documents on a daily basis.