Brother HL-6050D

We take a look at a sensibly priced, mid-range, network ready and duplexer equipped workgroup printer.

Brother claims a first print out in less than 11 seconds, but this is only true if the printer isn't in sleep mode. If it has switched to low power, it takes around 21 seconds to revive itself, before it starts to think about feeding paper. We're not trying to be awkward in pointing this out, as unless the printer is under very heavy use, it will be in sleep mode most of its working life, and this extra 21 seconds for any document you print, including just a single page, could get annoying.

We couldn't match the printer's headline print speed of 24ppm, but on a 20-page document, we did see 20ppm, which isn't far off. In the size of workgroup this printer is aimed at, these kind of speeds should be adequate for day-to-day work. The HL-6050D has duplex print built-in and Brother has engineered it so there is little wait between each printed side. Even so, we timed a duplex, 20-page document at just over 10spm, nearly twice as long as printing single-sided.

The print quality of black text is excellent; sharp and densely black with no sign of any toner spatter. Greyscale graphics don't fare quite as well, though, as by default they all come out either black or white.

This is obviously not what most documents will require, but you can get round the limitation by selecting Improve grey printing' in the Advanced tab of the printer driver this forces true greyscales. It's odd this print mode isn't the default, as there's little noticeable effect on print speed. With Improve grey printing' selected, even photo prints show reasonable tones.

Brother quotes a noise figure of 52dBA, but while feeding paper during print, we saw figures of just over 62dBA at 0.5m. This is quite noisy, but no worse than other printers in the HL-6050D's class.

There's only one 7,500 page toner cartridge available for this machine and the best online price we could find gives a cost per page of 0.83p. This is a good figure for a machine with this comparatively low asking price, so if you want to do your own maintenance, the Brother printer should prove an economical choice. Service contracts are available, too, so you should be able to lease purchase, if the duty cycle you intend to put the HL-6060D to makes this a better option.

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Verdict

This is a functional workgroup laser printer which is quick, cheap to run and produces good text and graphics. It takes a while to warm up from sleep mode and has no walk-up print facility, but these are the only two negatives on what is otherwise a solid, office worker.

Paper size: A4 duplex workgroup laser printer Print speed (claimed): 24ppm, Resolution: 1,200 dpi Paper handling: 500-sheet paper tray, plus 100-sheet multi-purpose Connectivity: USB 2.0 and 10/100 Ethernet Software: Emulated PCL6 and Postscript L3 drivers

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