Average colour quality, but this expandable A4 colour laser delivers good speeds and security measures
SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £296 exc VAT
Brother’s latest L8000 colour lasers deliver heaps of new features that will appeal to both small offices and busy workgroups. Sitting at the top of the tree, the HLL8360CDW offers great performance, improved colour quality and all the connection options you could possibly want. It can also grow with your needs, as its standard 250-sheet input tray can be supplemented with a 500-sheet tray or a base unit that takes four 520-sheet cassettes.
The printer uses a similar chassis to the HL-L8350CDW, but its 800MHz CPU is twice as fast and memory has been quadrupled to 512MB. This extra muscle showed through in our print tests: where the older HL-L8350CDW only managed a pedestrian 9ppm in our 24-page colour DTP document, the HL-L8360CDW delivered a much faster 29ppm at 600dpi and 27ppm using the driver’s interpolated 2,400 x 600dpi Fine setting.
Mono prints also lived up to Brother’s promises, with a 31-page Word document printed at 31.5ppm in both resolutions. Duplexing the same document dropped speed to 15.5ppm; the time to first page for all tests was no more than 12 seconds. Text quality varied depending on the paper: with cheap 75gsm paper we saw a slight dusting around small fonts, but switching to higher quality 100gsm paper cleared this up.
Photos and business graphics meanwhile looked good, regardless of paper weight. Photographs came out with bags of detail and no noticeable banding, even in large single-colour blocks. Some photos looked a little murky but we could improve them using the driver’s brightness and contrast sliders. Switching to Fine resolution also helped, particularly with mono photos, exposing greater detail in darker areas.
There are quite a few consumables to keep track of. As well as four toner cartridges, the image drum tray, transfer belt and toner waste box are all replaceable. Toner costs aren’t too bad, though: once you’ve used up the standard starter cartridges, you can switch to super-high-yield versions, which work out to 1.3p per mono page and 9.4p for colour.
The printer is very simple to configure, although you’ll have to choose between wired and wireless operation, as you can’t have both interfaces active simultaneously. NFC for tap-to-print is a new feature, AirPrint worked fine on our iPad and we had no problems registering the printer with our Google Cloud Print account from the web interface. We were also easily able to print from our iPad and Lumia 640 Windows Phone using Brother’s iPrint&Scan app. The iOS app is better featured: along with a status view, it offers options to print from iCloud, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive and Dropbox.
Print controls and security are solid, too. Brother’s Secure Function Lock 3 feature lets you configure up to
“The confidential document protection feature holds jobs and only releases them once the user enters a PIN at the printer”
200 user accounts and assign them print profiles, which define permissions for mono and colour printing, as well as page limits and access to Web Connect features for internet printing. The printer supports LDAP and Active Directory authentication plus NFC ID cards, and any attempts to access a denied function via the touchscreen are simply met with a “Function Locked” message. One slight niggle here is that you don’t get a local warning message on your desktop when you try to carry out a restricted print function, which could lead to support calls when users don’t fully understand why their jobs aren’t going through. Another feature is confidential document protection, which holds jobs and only releases them once the user enters a PIN at the printer.
Brother’s HL-L8360CDW is up against some tough competition: the Xerox VersaLink C400 ( see issue 276, p101) costs the same but is faster, and delivers superior colour print quality. However, Brother’s integrated wired and wireless network support, tough print security measures and wideranging connection options make it a strong choice. SPECIFICATIONS 600dpi A4 colour laser 31ppm colour/mono l
800MHz CPU 512MB RAM 6.8cm colour l l l touchscreen Gigabit Ethernet 802.11n l l wireless NFC 2 x USB 2 duplex l l l l 250-sheet drawer 50-sheet MPT l l recommended monthly duty cycle: 4,000 pages 441 x 486 x 313mm (WDH) 21.9kg l l
1yr on-site warranty. Options: 2yr warranty l extension, £80 4 x 520-sheet input tray, l £580 (all exc VAT)
LEFT Brother’s Secure Function Lock 3 provides controls for colour printing and paper usage
ABOVE The Brother’s chassis looks similar to the previous model, but it’s much speedier