Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review on Brother HL-2700CN Laser Printers and TN04 Cartridges

by: Robert Hearns

With their purchase prices dropping, many business operations are switching to color laser printers. A few years back, a color laser printer would have cost ten times more than its current price. This holds true for the Brother HL-2700CN printer and the TN-04 cartridges.

The Brother HL-2700CN is a 600 dpi printer, though Brother claims it can produce “2400 dpi quality prints” using CAPT technology. It is quite bulky, considering that its maximum print size is A4, with a paper feed tray (LT-27LG) that holds 250 sheets. It is a bottom-feeding printer that works best with paper of up to 210 gsm. On its left front side are the control buttons, along with a 2 line by 16 character LCD display that also serves as level indicator for each of the four toner cartridges.

A separately-sold optional DX 2700 duplexing unit can be attached to the back of the printer to activate two-sided printing. For those with larger requirements, an additional paper tray that can hold 530 sheets (LT-27CL ) easily fits underneath.

To connect to the computer, you can choose from its three ports, namely, USB 2.0, parallel, and wired Ethernet, which can be used individually or simultaneously, making the HL-2700CN a good choice for workgroup printing.

Should the unit require maintenance, the front, top, and side panels all fold out to provide easy access to the internal mechanism. A two-inch long plastic tab on the right side of the printer opens the front cover. Inside is the vertically-mounted OPC (organic photo conductor) belt and fusing unit, and a set of four (CMYK -- cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) toner cartridges, so arranged to make the replacement of the OPC belt and toner cartridges a very easy procedure. The cartridges slide in and out without trouble.

The HL-2700CN comes pre-installed with starter cartridges. The black TN04 starter cartridge will produce approximately 5,000 pages, while the three starter color toner cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow) will print up to 3,000 pages each; this information may vary though, depending on use. A replacement black cartridge can cost $169.99 and with a yield of up to 10,000 pages at 5 percent coverage. The TN-04 color replacement cartridges are estimated to produce 6,600 pages apiece at 5 percent coverage. Replacement toner cartridges are easily available in most computer stores, office supplies stores, and online resellers.

As the OEM cartridges may be on the pricey side, compatible Brother TN04 toner cartridges that sell for a fraction of the OEM costs provide a budget-friendly option. Compatible toner cartridges are designed and built according to OEM standards, producing an identical copy, with the same high-quality printing results. They are different from “remanufactured” cartridges as compatible cartridges are built from scratch, and not merely cleaned and refilled. They are less expensive than their OEM counterparts, making them the ideal choice for business operators on a tight budget. They are also conveniently available from online stores. Reliable sites provide online catalogues that make toner shopping a breeze, with deliveries accomplished within 48 hours.

The Brother HL-2700CN's management tools are available from all web browsers and any PC networked to the computer. Those new to networking will appreciate its very user-friendly network interface, Web-BrAdmin, and BrAdmin Professional, which runs under Microsoft Internet Information Server. For Apple users, the printer also supports Rendezvous.

The HL-2700CN's software is compatible with Windows (95 through XP), Mac (OS 8.6 through 10.3 or greater), and Linux (Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, and Debian). Drivers for the HL-27000CN include PCL6 and Brother's own version of PostScript 3 language emulation. The printer driver includes such options as Manual duplex, n-up (multiple images on one page), Poster, and Watermark print modes. The Brother HL-2700CN includes many useful small-office features. It comes with a 300MHz processor and just one 144-pin DIMM slot with 64MB of memory, expandable to 576MB, which is more than adequate for most small businesses. The HL-2700CN is also built to work with a Compact Flash (CF) card, can be used to store and reprint large documents, as well as special fonts and frequently used forms and templates. For more information on Laser Toners and TN04 replacement cartridges, visit