Brother HL-1430

5 Feb 2004

Product: Mono laser printer
Price: €219

With over twenty years since the first Xerox-IBM model in 1976, the laser printer is the unsung hero of the digital age. It joined the PC in the desktop revolution to transform our business lives in 1984 (Hewlett-Packard’s LaserJet has its 20th anniversary this year) and has become steadily better in performance, reliability – and price. The Brother HL-1430 stands proudly on that pedigree as an entry-level mono printer that does everything you might expect to find on the tin at an extremely competitive price.

It would be unfair to major on the reasonable price, because it is combined with a set of specifications for this model from the famously sturdy Brother range that is almost definitive for the current entry level in mono laser printing. Speed is 14 A4 ppm (pages per minute) and resolution 600x600dpi (dots per inch) that has become standard because it is pretty well as good as laser printing ever needs, giving crisp and clean edges to letters and lines with the dots indiscernible to the naked human eye.

In fact, the draft quality of 300dpi is excellent for almost all internal and routine documents. All too many printers use four times as much toner unnecessarily by using 600dpi as the default setting. Print quality from this machine is well up with the market leaders.

The standard 4MB internal Ram is not upgradable but is more than adequate for normal black and white office documents, including PowerPoint files. The range of possible media includes labels, transparencies and recycled paper with the standard input tray taking a fairly generous 250 pages (up to 105gms) while the manual feed extends up to 161gms for chunkier stock. Most importantly, the time to first copy is rated at under 15 sec. Although it was about twice that for the first print of the day, practical testing showed even faster first-page times when warmed up.

With drivers for all current flavours of Windows and Mac, plus USB connection, the Brother HL-1430 was probably the easiest and quickest printer to install and use that this reviewer has ever test driven. Possibly not suitable for the needs of a workgroup (and network card is extra) this is an almost perfect personal printer for anyone and especially teleworkers.

By Leslie Faughnan