Brother HL-L3290CDW Laser Color Printer Review

Brother HL-L3290CDW Laser Color Printer Review

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Buy it at Amazon: Brother HL-L3290CDW Laser Color Printer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Prints excellent B&W or color text and basic graphics, but light only light duty scan/copy.

You’ll receive the printer, six foot power cable, driver and software CD, a quick setup guide, and instruction manual. This printer comes with 4 starter toner cartridges pre-installed: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. The printer measures 16” wide, 14” high, and 18” deep. The weight of the printer with all the cartridges installed is just under 50 lbs. The paper tray holds up to 250 sheets of printer paper, up to legal-size. In the middle on the front is a single-sheet document feeder, for specialty paper like labels, envelopes, and card stock. When the lid is open, the height is 26.5” and you’ll need at least 7” behind the printer to access the rear panel. The scanner bed also lifts up for clearing paper jams, and there’s a pop out lift for multi-page printouts. In the back lower right corner is the USB-B port for wired connections, though a cable is not included. In the rear lower left hand corner is the plug port for the power cable.

On the control panel you’ll find, a power button, copy/scan options, 2 in 1 (ID) copy, WiFi key, scan key, LCD display, Menu, Clear, up/down and OK buttons, Stop or Exit, and Black Copy and Color Copy buttons. Press the power button to turn the printer on. The first time you turn the printer on it will take about 2 minutes to fully initialize. To set the printer up wirelessly, don’t press the WiFi button. Press Menu, then navigate down to Network, Press OK and select WLAN. Press down to reach Setup Wizard and press OK. Select your SSID, then key in the password when it asks for Network Key. Note that because of the LCD interface, you’ll have to key in the password one character at a time by scrolling up or down through every number, letter capital and lowercase, and symbol found on the keyboard. When you’re done, press OK then Up to confirm the settings. While typing in the password was a bit annoying, I was able to connect on the first try and it only took a few minutes. Instead of the Setup Wizard you can try the WPS option if your router supports it, which doesn’t require you to manually key in the password. Note that if you don’t have a WiFi network, that this printer does not support an Ethernet connection and you would have to connect the printer via USB to your computer. You can also connect directly to a device’s WiFi for example on a mobile phone.

After setting up the printer wirelessly, I installed the drivers and software by downloading them from Brother’s website, as I don’t have a CD drive on my laptop. The software detected the printer right away and the entire setup process took about 15 minutes. After hitting print on your computer, it only takes a few seconds for the information to be sent wirelessly to the printer before it wakes up and starts printing. For double-sided printing, it’ll print to one side first, retract the page, then print on the other side. Text printed on this machine is clear and crisp; even very small sized font remains legible. The printer performed well printing simple color graphics and lines are smooth and solid with good saturation.

When making color copies, simply place your color document on the scanner bed and then press the one-touch color copy button on the control panel. It'll take about 20 seconds to finish a single page though for multiple copies or pages it can print up to 25 pages per minute. When comparing the color copy of a photo, there was a bit of darkening and uneven gray tones in the color gradient areas of the copy versus the original photo. I could clearly see vertical and horizontal banding as well. Looking at the more detailed part of the image, the differences were not as obvious. However, the copied version had a slightly darker coloration and additional shadowing in some places.

For mobile printing from an Android device, you’ll need to install 2 apps: Mopria Print Service and Brother iPrint&Scan. Apple iOS device users can use AirPrint with this printer and won’t need to install any apps. When looking at the printout from a digital photo, the printer didn’t seem to produce the full range of colors of a detailed photograph. Some detailed and vibrant areas of the photo appeared flat and muddy. Also, the contrast in the print appears a bit reduced compared to the digital image on the screen resulting in loss of detail and vibrancy. Banding is apparent in the printout. When scanning and photocopying in black and white, sometimes text bleed-through from the ooposite side would be apparent in the copy. However, this really only happened in black and white photo copies of documents containing color, and the bleed-through only manifested in areas with color and did not happen when there was just black and white text copied.

The biggest drawback to scanning and copying on this machine is that there isn’t an automatic document feeder, so this means you can only process documents one at a time, one side at a time. Also, the 25-page per minute print speed is applicable only to single-sided printouts. Dual-sided printouts are about half the speed, because the sides don’t print simultaneously.

Overall, this printer prints really nice black and white text and basic graphics in color decently well. Prints of detailed color photos on the other hand don’t look nearly as impressive, and you won’t be able to get gallery quality prints from it. For a small business or home office that mostly prints documents, and only has infrequent need for small quantity scanning or photocopying, this printer does a great job. It’s is easy to setup and share on your home network, provided you use WiFi, but also allows you to print from a mobile device or opt for a wired USB connection. One nice feature that might be useful in an office setting, too, is the ability to password-protect your queued print documents or even the scanner function with a PIN in addition to standard network security protocols.

Buy it at Amazon: Brother HL-L3290CDW Laser Color Printer [Affiliate Link]


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