Review: Brother HL-5440D, Duplex Mono Laser Printer

Our score: 4/5
Reviewed: November 21, 2012 3:00 PM
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Published: November 21, 2012 3:00 PM
By Marine Goy
Translated by: Hugh Ehreth
Designed for workgroups of up to five, the HL-5440D is a mono laser printer from Brother's "Invisible" range. The Japanese brand sums up its merits with three points: increased productivity, high cost effectiveness and minimal ecological impact.

Design & Build2/5



At 37 x 38 x 24 cm and 10 kg, the HL-5440D is a compact printer. Its sober—if not austere—look inspires confidence. It's made of solid materials that make it reliable, at least as far as the body is concerned.

Let's start with the missing criteria that give this printer such a low rating for design and build. The HL-5440D has no multifunction features (copy, scan, fax), no colour printing, no memory card reader and no touchscreen. It does, however, make double-sided prints; it supports PCL6, PostScript 3 and other programming languages; and it has a 400 MHz processor and 64 MB of memory, which is enough to allow for convenient sharing between as many as ten people.

Brother HL-5440D - front

At the back of the machine are the power supply, the Ethernet port and a memory expansion slot. The compartment in the back opens up to let you remove jammed paper.

Brother HL-5440D - back
Back

This is a far cry from modern printers with big touchscreens. Instead there are two physical buttons for "Cancel" and "Go" and an LED lets you know of any paper jams, empty ink cartridges or empty paper trays.
 
Brother HL-5440D - buttons
Commands

When you open up the machine, the black toner is easy to access and replace.
 
Brother HL-5440D - toner slot
Toner slot

The standard paper tray holds up to 250 sheets and you can added a second tray (sold separately) of 500 sheets. The adjustable pieces for different paper types is practical and works well. There's also a multi-purpose front tray above the standard paper tray for up to 50 sheets of different paper types such as envelopes and thick paper.
 
Brother HL-5440D - paper tray
250-sheet paper tray

 

Print Speed5/5



Aforementioned shortcomings notwithstanding, this printer is fast as heck! 38 pages per minute (ppm) is faster than any other mono printer we've reviewed. It's faster than the Dell B1260dn (33 ppm), the Brother HL-2240 (25 ppm), the Dell B1160w (20 ppm) and even the Epson Aculaser M2300DN (32 ppm). And it's fast at duplex printing, too: 16 ppm.

Brother HL-5440D ppm

Print Quality3/5



The print quality, however, is just satisfactory. It will do fine for plain text, but for anything more complex, such as our test graph below, the prints sometimes lack depth. The legend is clearly legible but the contours of the letters lack precision and sharpness.


The colour accuracy gives a Delta E of 10.2, which is slightly better than the Dell B1260dn (12.1) and HP Laserjet Pro M400 M401dw (12.4).
 
Brother HL-5440D - De94
Average Delta E 94 (colour difference): 10.2


Power Use & Noise4/5



The Brother HL-5440D uses the least amount of energy on standby of all the printers we've tested: 0.4 W which is much lower than what you usually find on laser printers, which have been making great progress by reaching 1 W on average. While printing the HL-5440D is just average, at 850 W.

If you really have an aversion to noisy printers you might want to turn on the quiet mode, knowing that it will also slow the printer down. We picked up 55 dB of noise while printing (printers are considered quiet below 50 dB.

Cost Per Page5/5


The HL-5440D also has one of the lowest costs per page of all the monochrome printers we've reviewed. For comparison, the Epson Aculaser M2300DN costs 3.3 pence per page with the Cartridge Return programme, although the Brother HL-2240 is even more competitive at 2.1 pence per page using the high capacity cartridges.

ISO lifespan - Standard capacity cartridges
Cartridge Price (starting at) ISO lifespan Cost per page
TN-3330 (black) £63 4000 1.6 pence


ISO lifespan - High capacity cartridges
Cartridge Price (starting at) ISO lifespan Cost per page
TN-3380 (black) £100 8000 1.3 pence
4/5 Brother HL-5440D DigitalVersus 2012-11-21 16:00:00

Pros

  • Low cost per page: 1.3 pence (high capacity ink cartridges)
  • Fast printing
  • Responsive
  • Compact / Duplex
  • Low energy use
  • Supports PCL6 and PostScript
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac & Linux

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • No card reader
  • Quality for plain text only
  • Loud when not in quiet mode

Conclusion

This printer is perfect for anyone who values speed and cost effectiveness over print quality and features. It's relatively eco-friendly and has one of the lowest costs per page for a mono laser printer. If you don't need colour printing, a scanner or a copier, we say go for it!

OUR SCORE 4/5
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