For its price, Brother's HL-5370DW mono laser printer packs a reasonable punch. Not only can it automatically print double-sided documents, but it handles black-and-white graphics well and prints at a decent speed for its price. We would have preferred setting up networking to be slightly more straightforward but overall the Brother HL-5370DW is a good workgroup laser printer.
Like the entry-level HL-2140, the Brother HL-5370DW mono laser printer won't win any design awards but it is small enough to fit into tight spots. It comes standard with a 250-sheet paper tray but can be expanded to fit a further 500 sheets through two optional tray accessories.
Connectivity is abundant: on the back the Brother HL-5370DW has USB 2.0, Ethernet and parallel ports, and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi is integrated. Other standout features the afore-mentioned automatic duplexing and an intelligent sleep mode that saves power.
The set-up disc guides you through network installation, but without this disc it can be a little tricky. You can print a network configuration report directly from the HL-5370DW mono laser printer, but it is used primarily for setting up Wi-Fi and we could not get it to report the assigned Ethernet IP address. Thankfully, Brother has implemented PnP-X (Plug and Play Extensions) over Ethernet so that the printer is easily discoverable on Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, Windows XP and Mac OS users are bound to have a harder time. We would have preferred an easier method of obtaining basic network settings.
Wireless set up is a little easier. You must first switch on the active interface by holding down the "Go" button, but once this is done the HL-5370DW broadcasts an ad-hoc wireless network to which you can connect and set up the printer. It also supports three different push-button wireless sync methods — Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), AOSS and SecureEasySetup — so if your router supports any of these you just have to press a small button on the back of the HL-5370DW and then connect to a wireless access point. The Wi-Fi connection can be configured through the Web-based interface while connected over Ethernet but remains inactive until the interfaces are switched.
Brother claims that the HL-5370DW mono laser printer is capable of printing 30 pages per minute, but we managed to achieve an average rate of 31.5ppm in both 300dpi and 600dpi modes during our tests. The first page was printed in an average of 9.8 seconds when the printer was awake, and 21.6 seconds when waking from its intelligent sleep mode. When using the best quality setting — HQ 1200dpi — print times were inconsistent but the HL-5370DW still achieved an average rate of 24.7ppm, with the first page printed in 14.5 seconds.
The HL-5370DW mono laser printer provides both a standard 1200dpi (1200x1200dpi) setting and a high quality "HQ 1200dpi" setting, which prints at a 2400x600dpi resolution. The impact is definitely noticeable: though the results for both settings are very good, documents printed with the HQ 1200dpi setting have much finer, more accurate text characters. Documents overall are very readable and the quality is adequate for professional work.
Even monochrome graphics are handled impeccably. Detail on high resolution black-and-white photographs is handled surprisingly well, though on close inspection the grain common to laser printers is clear. While the HL-5370DW mono laser printer isn't a potential photo printer, the results are indicative of how well the printer handles black-and-white graphics in professional presentation documents.
Its feature set and print speed mean the Brother HL-5370DW mono laser printer is certainly worth the price.
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