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A Review of the Brother HL-4040CN

The Brother HL-4040CN is a low-to-moderately-priced color laser printer and is ideal for a small office setting. The print quality is reported to be great, and it offers some unique elements, like a secure print features. Unfortunately, its black text print speeds are somewhat slow, especially when compared to competitors, but overall, it is a solid printer for a modest cost.

The Brother HL-4040CN does not include a duplexer, and Brother does not sell one as an upgrade. It is certainly possible to print duplex, but that is a manual process. One interesting feature included with this printer is the Reprint option. The printer holds the last printed job in memory, and with the touch of a button, one can print that last job without returning to one's PC - pretty useful for those of us who often forget to choose the correct number of printed copies from the print menu on our computers. This printer also has a feature for secure prints. This simply requires setting up a 4-digit passcode from your PC. When you need to reprint this document, hit the Reprint key from the printer's menu, select your username, and enter the correct 4-digit passcode. Again, there is no need to print from your PC which makes printing documents that may have sensitive information much easier to manage since you can stand right at the printer.

Black, text-only print speeds are a bit slower than those of other comparably-priced machines, but they are adequate (15.66 ppm according to CNET). Color text print speeds are on the faster end of printers in the HL-4040CN's price range (CNET reviews post 13.77 ppm). Overall, the print quality of this machine fared average or above-average in reviewers' tests. Black text prints crisply and cleanly, and graphics are output with fairly consistent and predictable color control.

The design of this printer is nothing out of the ordinary. It's a decent size and fairly heavy. The HL-4040CN houses two ports at the back of the printer - plus one additional USB port on the front (handy for flash drives and cameras). Its single paper tray takes up to 250 sheets at once, even legal-size, and the printer also offers manual tray that can support up to 50 long pages.

The toner costs for this printer are within the average range, too. According to CNET's trials, the toner print cost per page, based on purchasing Brother's high-capacity toner cartridges, is just under two cents a page if you're working with just black ink and just under twelve cents each for color pages. The printer's suggested usage capacity is approximately 35,000 pages per month making it a bit too aggressive for the average home user but perfect for a small office setting.

Overall, the Brother HL-4040CN Color Laser Printer is a solid machine. It fared well in consumer reviews, scoring slightly better than average. For the price, it is a good choice for a small office setting that requires good print quality but not necessarily the fastest of print speeds.