At a Glance
The Brother HL-2070N is essentially the same small-office laser as the Brother HL-2040, but with a built-in print server that makes it easy to share among a small group of co-workers. But the usage load would have to be fairly light: Though the HL-2070N isn't designed to meet the demands usually placed on a workgroup laser, it performs very well for a $200 printer.
Its single paper tray holds up to 250 sheets--letter or legal size. You can feed alternative paper and thicker media such as envelopes through its manual slot, one at a time. The bin on top accommodates up to 100 sheets. And that's the extent of the HL-2070N's paper-handling capabilities--no 500-sheet add-ons or optional duplexers here! Dashing off more than a few envelopes--or alternating between letterhead and plain paper with any frequency--will quickly grow tiresome. That said, at least you get a proper paper drawer instead of a fold-down tray like the ones that some of the cheapest small-office lasers use.
In our performance tests, the HL-2070N turned out 16.6 text pages per minute, which is slower than most workgroup lasers but far from the worst we've seen. Its graphics speed of 9.9 ppm is a tad slower than the HL-2040's but above the workgroup printer average. The printer takes $60 toner cartridges, rated by Brother to yield 2500 sheets; these, combined with a drum that needs replacing every 12,000 pages, work out to a consumables cost of 3.4 cents per page--expensive even for a small-office printer.
Like the HL-2040's, the HL-2070N's printed text rated Good in our quality tests. The overall weight of the page looked light due to the fineness of the characters, and some fonts appeared slightly fuzzy under a magnifying glass. Our line art test looked light, too--almost gray, in fact--with a little vertical and horizontal banding visible in some places. The grayscale image came out too dark and was superimposed with banding that one of our judges described as "plaid."
The PC World Test Center usually tests networked printers in a typical corporate scenario, where a Windows Server 2003 system manages the printer. Client PCs wishing to connect to the printer download the driver from the server and send print jobs to a single queue on the server. This simplifies administering a network where, over time, many client PCs may want to access the same printer. The HL-2070N is a snap to install in such an environment, thanks to Brother's Quick Setup Guide and flawless installation software. More likely, you'll install the driver directly from the CD-ROM onto each system in a small peer-to-peer network of client PCs, where each maintains its own print queue and connection to the printer. We found the HL-2070N just as simple to install in this way.
The HL-2070N is a well-built printer for small groups of low-volume users, where the convenience of laser-printed documents outweighs any need for economical printing or perfect quality.
Rated 20 ppm. Performed at16.6 ppm text/9.9 ppm graphics, 2400-by-600-dpi maximum black-and-white resolution, 250 pages input, 100 output.