Colour laser printers have traditionally been overpriced and under specced, compared with their mono-only counterparts. Brother’s HL-3140CW isn’t a colour laser printer, though, but a colour LED printer. This is part of the reason it’s neither overpriced, nor under specced.
Brother HL-3140CW – Design and Features
Aimed at the small, or possibly home office, it’s surprisingly compact, and its mid-grey and white colour scheme helps it to look discreet. Paper outputs to its top surface and there’s a flip-up paper stop to prevent it over-running.
Also set into the top surface is a simple control panel with eight buttons including a power button which is surprisingly small and easy to overlook. The printer has a two-line LCD panel set quite deep into the control panel and without a backlight, though we didn’t have any trouble reading messages on it.
At the bottom of the panel a large recessed handle makes it easy to open the 250-sheet main paper tray, a much more sensible capacity than many colour lasers offer. Above this there’s a flip-down panel offering a single feed for envelopes or special media.
Brother HL-3140CW – Connections and Installation
The Brother HL-3140CW has a single USB socket at the rear, but is also wireless compatible and using WPS setup can be linked to a wireless network without a temporary USB link.
Lifting the top panel reveals the consumables. Each drum cartridge has a clip-in toner cartridge and you can use between 7 and 10 toners before needing to change the drum. There’s a transfer belt and waste toner unit, too, though fortunately, these only have to be replaced after 50,000 pages.
Software installation is straightforward as the main application is the driver, though you do get Web access to the Brother CreativeCenter and to a trial version of its OmniJoin videoconferencing; Brother is heavily into videoconferencing.
Brother HL-3140CW – Performance and Verdict
Brother HL-3140CW – Print Speeds
Brother claims a top speed of 18ppm for the HL-3140CW in both black and colour print. We didn’t get to that speed under test, though our 20ppm black text document produced a speed of 14.5ppm, which is not far off. The five-page test produced 9.1ppm.
These speeds are good, with similar printers, such as the more expensive Canon i-SENSYS LBP7110Cw giving 11.5ppm and 7.5ppm, respectively.
Unusually, the colour graphics speed matched the mono text speed at 9.1ppm and this is quite quick for this class of printer. A 15 x 10cm photo on A4 took 22s to complete, which is also quick. The printer is claimed to work with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, though we couldn’t get the Brother Android App, iPrint & Scan, to find it. This turned out to be a firmware issue and was resolved with an upgrade.
Brother HL-3140CW – Print Quality and Costs
The print quality is well up to the standards you would expect from a mid-range laser printer; we’d challenge you to tell the output from a beam sculpted original. Colour graphics are strong and smooth, though we did notice some haloing from black and colour misregistration. The photo print looked surprisingly natural, though there was some mild banding visible.
The costs are divided between the toner and drum, and the belt and waste unit, if you print over 50,000 pages. They work out at 3.0p for black pages and 12.4p for colour. These are about average for a low-cost colour laser or LED machine.
There’s a popular misconception that laser print is cheaper than inkjet, but in the £100 – £200 price range, this isn’t true, particularly for colour. It probably comes from the fact that inkjet consumables are lower capacity and need replacing more frequently than toner.
Should I buy a Brother HL-3140CW?
If you want a colour laser-quality printer, then Yes. This machine represents tremendous value for money at the £119 price we found online. That’s from a reputable source which is likely to maintain stocks, too.
Compare it with the Canon i-SENSYS LBP7110Cw, at around £160 or the HP LaserJet Pro 200 Color M251nw at around £170 and it’s faster than both and costs about the same to run. But it’s £40-£50 cheaper.
Unless you have a particular aversion to LED printers – and the difference is only a matrix of bright LEDs rather than a laser beam setting the image on the drum – there’s no reason we can see for not choosing the less expensive Brother option.
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The Brother HL-3140CW is a really good value colour LED printer. It’s neat, quick and doesn’t cost that much to run, particularly when compared with early colour LEDs from Dell and Xerox, where colour pages came close to 20p each. With an asking price of under £120, there’s little reason to buy a mono-only laser, when you could have this machine and print colour, too.
Brother HL-3140CW – Print Speeds and Costs Table
Scores In Detail
- Print Quality
- Print Speed
- Value 10/10
- Brother HL-3140CW review(trustedreviews.com)