Introduction, Design, Features
The naming conventions of printer models can be confusing, particularly if you expect the prefixes or suffixes in the names to specify features. For instance, take Brother’s $169.99 HL-L2395DW monochrome all-in-one laser printer, the focus of this review: Typically, the company says “HL-L” to designate a single-function laser printer and “MFC-L” to indicate multifunction or all-in-one (AIO) machines that can print, copy, scan, and fax. However, while the HL-L2395DW does indeed print, copy, and scan, it does not fax, nor does it have an automatic document feeder (ADF), which is why Brother classified it as a single-function printer with a scanner, rather than an AIO printer without fax or ADF capabilities.
But aside from the naming problem, we had few issues with this low-volume, entry-level monochrome AIO.
In our tests, we found that the HL-L2395DW, which is positioned near the top of the company’s entry-level monochrome laser printer fleet, is not only reasonably fast, but it also prints well, and comes with just about every feature (except an ADF) available for this class of printer. And as you’ll see in the Design Features section, its features hold up well against those found on the Editors’ Choice OKI B412dn, Canon’s ImageClass D570, and Brother’s own HL-L2390DW, a lower-cost alternative to the HL-L2395DW.
As we’ve been saying for years, the drawback to nearly all entry-level and mid-level monochrome laser printers is that they cost too much to use. The HL-L2395DW is no exception; you’ll see why in the Cost Per Page section. But what it comes down to is that its running costs render it a low-volume printer. So, if you print several hundreds (or thousands) of pages each month, it will literally cost you hundreds, or thousands, of dollars more to use compared to a more costly mid- or high-volume monochrome laser machine over the life of the printer.
Given the HL-L2395DW’s price, feature list, speed, and output quality, it comes up just short of being the latest recipient of our Editors’ Choice nod for low-volume entry-level monochrome AIO laser printers.
Dell Smart Printer S2830dnCanon’s ImageClass MF249dw, because of its ADF, is somewhat taller than the HL-L2395DW, and it’s about eight pounds heavier. Unfortunately, the HL-L2395DW has no support for USB thumb drives or other types of memory devices.
Still, as laser AIOs go, the HL-L2395DW is relatively compact and likely to fit comfortably on all but the smallest of desktops. Its connectivity options consist of Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB. You also get Wi-Fi Direct and near field-communication (NFC), both of which are peer-to-peer network protocols for connecting your mobile devices to the printer without either it or them being connected to the same network. (As shown in the image below, the NFC touch-to-print hotspot is located to the left of the control panel.) Mobile options consist of Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, and Brother’s own iPrintScan. The latter provides access not only to several of Brother’s cloud apps, such as Office Print for printing from Microsoft Office 365 and the mobile Office apps, Scan to Email, Scan to Mobile, and Fax Forward to Cloud/Email, but also to several popular cloud sites, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive, OneNote, and Box.
The lack of an ADF, of course, is a glaring omission and significantly restricts the flexibility of the scanner. So, for instance, if you have a document that comprises two or more pages, you’ll need to scan each page separately, one at a time…
On the other hand, Brother provides a few sophisticated Web connectivity and workflow-profile features via the control panel, including connecting to individual cloud sites from apps located on the HL-L2395DW’s 2.7-inch color touch screen…
In addition to the touch screen, the control panel includes several buttons, such as Home, Cancel, and Back, for navigating the screen…
As you can see, the HL-L2395DW has a robust feature set for a laser printer priced under $200.
Setup for the HL-L2395DW was very simple. It’s light enough that getting it out of the box is a snap, and there was minimal packing material. The installation software found the printer on our network immediately and installed the drivers and utilities without a hitch. We went from opening the box to printing our first test page in less than 10 minutes.
In the box, you’ll find the installation CD, AC power cord, and documentation. In addition, Brother includes a rather skimpy (700-page-yield) toner cartridge and a drum unit that yields about 12,000 pages. When it comes time to replace them, the combined per-page cost will run you about the same as the competition.
Cost Per Page
Brother offers toner cartridges in two capacities for the HL-L2395DW: 1,200 pages and 3,000 pages, for $44.99 and $79.99, or 4.6 cents and 2.7 cents per page, respectively. And that does not include the 0.009-cent per-page cost of the drum kit that kicks in after you print your first 12,000 pages and every 12,000 pages thereafter, for a total cost per page (CPP) of 3.7 cents. This may not seem like much, but it adds up over time. For example, Brother’s maximum monthly duty cycle for the HL-L2395DW is 15,000 (with 2,000 pages recommended monthly). So, every 10,000 pages you print will cost you $370 and printing 100,000 pages over the life of the printer will cost you $3,700.
Now, let’s say you print the same 100,000 pages on a printer like Dell’s S2830DN, with its 1.7-cent CPP. That will cost you just $1,700, or $2,000 less than the HL-L2395DW, which we assume would be a lot of money for a user or workgroup contemplating either of these printers.
With that in mind, then, the Canon ImageClass MF419dw’sImageClass D1550’s running costs are 3.5 cents, and the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw runs about 3.9 cents. In other words, unless you can find a very good bargain on buying toner for the HL-L2395DW, you should only consider choosing this model if you’re looking for a low-volume printer.
The HL-L2395DW’s paper handling configuration—a 250-sheet main drawer and a 1-sheet override tray—is a bit restrictive, but not uncommon on sub-$200 AIOs…
Printed pages land on a small 150-sheet tray that pulls out beneath the control panel…
The good news is that no matter what we printed, copied, or scanned, the HL-L2395DW performed quite well, without any paper jams, misfeeds, or other mishaps to report.