RogerBW's Blog

Brother HL-L6300DW laser printer 03 March 2020

My old laser printer, a Brother HL-5270DN which I've been running since 2006, was getting mechanically unreliable. They don't make it any more, so I looked for the nearest equivalent. Almost. I wanted a paper tray that would take a whole ream at a time.

That turned out to be quite difficult to achieve. I've been very happy with Brother's networked monochrome lasers in the past, and didn't want a combination machine (I have a lovely portable scanner that runs off USB power, and I have no use for fax). But if you want a full-size paper tray, you have to get out of their domestic and small office ranges into printers intended for medium-sized businesses, where many sites rather than quoting a price want to set up a conference call with your tech purchasing manager.

Tough luck, those sites.

The HL-L6300DW does the things I want:

  • monochrome laser printer
  • automatic duplexing
  • wired network connection
  • 500 sheet paper capacity
  • no larger footprint than the old printer

It also does some things I don't want, like wireless and NFC connectivity, but I can turn them off.

Because it's fourteen years newer, it comes with a whole 256M rather rather than 32M of memory, which makes large bitmaps more likely to be printable. (Too many vendors of tickets and such seem to like these in their PDFs.) It's also about twice as fast as the old one, which was twice as fast as the one I had before.

The build quality is very noticeably better than the "domestic and small office" printers I've had before, and not just because there was a cute little plastic tompion in the ethernet port. Things have proper spring catches rather than just friction closures, and enough thickness of plastic that they don't feel likely to snap off when handled casually.

As promised, a full ream of capacity. Since I buy my paper by the ream, and I think most other people do too, this seemed like an obvious thing to have, and yet…

An undocumented, but genuinely useful, feature: the touch-screen display folds flat when not in use, and the top opening is small enough that I can leave a sheet of A4 on it as a dust cover when the printer's not in use. (And when I print something, the printout will push it aside.)

The 5270 could print onto envelopes, but it always curled them severely and crinkled the edges, and recently was prone to misfeeding them. This one can take an envelope and leave it with only mild curling.

(Quick quiz: how well do you know Roger? Given the requirement to print addresses into an envelope, he will:

  1. do whatever he does when addressing an envelope by hand; or

  2. use the largest text that will fit in the address area; or

  3. look up the Post Office Preferred options for typeface and font size, and adhere strictly to those.

In other news, did you know that the Post Office actually prefers you not to put the county in a UK address these days? Postcode is all they use at that level of sorting, with post town as a backup, and extra writing can confuse the machines.)

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Tags: toys

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:17pm on 03 March 2020

    I assume you go for option 3 for printing addresses on envelopes.

    I've been trying not to use county in UK for addresses for at least 25 years. It started quite well, but then online ordering came in with shit software imported cheaply from the US/Canada which insists on a State/Province, and all the lazy web developers did was change the name of the field to County and left it mandatory. Useless morons.

  2. Posted by Michael Cule at 06:41pm on 03 March 2020

    I'd be more inclined to use my printer (nowhere near as grand as yours) to print envelopes if it had a place to store them and I didn't have to: take the A4 paper out, check on the help guide which way the envelope goes in,adjust the guiding thingies, reset the program to print envelopes and when it was done put it all back again.

    As it is I just scrawl an illegible address and hope they can at least read the numbers and the postcode.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 07:16pm on 03 March 2020

    Ah, well, I didn't show where the envelopes go in. The second photo has both front covers open; if you do just the outer one, you get a neat fold-out tray. (The old one did that too.) Ditto if you want e.g. thick card or a coloured front cover.

    If I were doing more frequent mailings I'd probably use my Dymo LabelWriter 450, which prints labels off a roll. (That's why I got it. In particular you don't need to do a whole sheet at a time, the way you do with laser-printer labels. Then the Post Office changed its online postage purchase system and it was easier to print a ⅓ A4 label and sellotape it onto the package.)

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