Brother HL-4070CDW Review

Brother HL-4070CDWI can safely call this my first and last Brother printer.  I paid around $431 for it and the quality is lackluster.  It’s 2400 DPI and yet I’ve seen older 600 DPI HP Laser Printers print better photographs on generic non photo paper.

Moreover, if I try to print an envelope it’ll look like I sat on the envelope for the duration of a road trip by the time it comes out.  Sure the ink looks fine, but the envelope is completely bent and the edges are scuffed in the process.  This doesn’t exactly yield that increase in professionalism one would expect from custom printed envelopes.

However, the two most annoying issues have nothing to do with output quality.  For one, the toners leak regularly and I’ve had a magenta stripe down my pages in spite of repeated cleanings (following the instructions on their website) for the past couple of years.  The most annoying problem is if I take a cartridge out and shake it after being told it’s out of ink, new toner flies out of the cartridge telling me the cartridge still had plenty of toner (although now slightly less).  On an HP printer and I believe many other brands, you can just shake the cartridge and put it back in for another 500+ pages of use.  However, Brother doesn’t recheck the levels when you put a cartridge back unless you put in a brand new cartridge.  Their tech support won’t even tell you how to get around this and their owner’s manual doesn’t mention it.  I consider this downright criminal.  I have ink, they know I have ink, but I can’t use it.  Instead I’m just supposed to pony up another $45-75 for a cartridge (laser ink costs more, because you get about 10-25x as many pages).  After some cussing and searching I found the answer in a forum.  The instructions for resettting the toner levels on any Brother HL series printer:

1 Open the front cover of the printer
2 press and hold the cancel button
3 press the reprint button while still holding cancel
– here is the reset menu – go to the appropriate cartridge on
– the menu and reset it and you’re done!
FYI… Pressing the “Go” button and the up arrow gives you the parts life reset menu (drum, laser, fuser, etc.)

by saagpaneer (9/3/08 2:00 PM)

In case you were wondering the Saag Paneer person who was nice enough to share these instructions almost definitely isn’t really named Saag.  Since “saag paneer” or more accurately in my case “saag aloo” (spinach and potatoes) is probably my favorite Indian dish, I was clear the author wasn’t giving their real name.  Thank you very much Mr. Saag for your help with my printer.

One thing this printer does a wonderful job of is not jamming and in the rare instances that a jam does happen, it’s very easy to resolve unlike the majority of HP color laser printers in the 200-600 dollar price range.

For those of you who don’t already know this, printers are still miles ahead of smartphones when it comes to fitting visual detail in the smallest space.  The highest resolution smartphone (Droid DNA) today is only 2 megapixels on a ~5 inch screen, but a 2400 DPI printer does 5.76 megapixels per square inch!  In other words the best screen made today can only display 0.2 megapixels per inch.  Out of any computer technology during my lifetime display resolution has progressed the least.  Yes, monitors have gotten thinner, less toxic, 65,000 times as many colors, and flatter, but the consumer’s standard resolution hasn’t changed that much since I was twelve (0.48 MP vs. 2.1 MP) .   If you compare that quadrupling in resolution to the increase in my system’s RAM (3,000x), MHZ of my CPU (480x), or hard disk capacity (25,000x) I have today, a 4x growth factor is downright disappointing.  Needless to say, I look forward to the day when I have a 200 megapixel display. Hopefully, I won’t be so old by then that my eyes will no longer be able to register the detail.

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