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Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW Review

Solid performance, fast printing speed, and accessible operating costs make this printer a winner for monochromatic printing
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brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw home printer review
Credit: Brother
Price:  $150 List
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Manufacturer:   Brother
By Genaveve Bradshaw and Benjamin Hickok  ⋅  May 2, 2023

#5 of 12
  • Text Quality - 25% 7.8
  • Operating Cost - 25% 9.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 5.8
  • Graphics and Photos - 15% 6.3
  • Printing Speed - 15% 9.3

Our Verdict

The Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW printer is a great black and white printer. While it may not offer the highest fidelity photo and graphic prints, it still produces great prints, has a relatively low operational cost, and can complete large printing tasks in short order. Automatic duplex printing allows you to start a print job and let it run, versus manually feeding paper for double-sided prints. Those jobs can be completed at an average speed of 13 pages per minute, meaning even last minute prints will be ready for your next office meeting, or just in time to get in the mail before the last postal collection. Refer to our comprehensive home printer review for more of our test results.
Fast printing
Low operating cost
Great text quality
Tiny display screen
Moderately responsive buttons

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Pros Fast printing, low operating cost, great text qualitySturdy, well-built, awesome interface, strong all-around performanceMulptiple connectivity options, compact and small size, great operating cost with a moderate initial purchase priceCompact design, good printing speed and qualityLow purchase price, compact size, consistent performance
Cons Tiny display screen, moderately responsive buttonsLacks duplex scanning, proprietary ink onlyMediocre photo, graphic, text quality, display screen, and user interfaceVery limited connectivity (no WiFi or Ethernet and it doesn't come with a USB cable)Expensive operating costs, manual duplex printing
Bottom Line Solid performance, fast printing speed, and accessible operating costs make this printer a winner for monochromatic printingA strong all-around printer where photo and graphic printing, cost efficiency, user interface, and print speed all score highA cost efficient printer that makes a great pick for casual home use but isn't the best option for high quality document or photo needsThis printer does a stellar job at high-speed monochrome document printing, but lacks connectivity options, making it less versatile and convenientA very accessible entry cost and solid performance across the board make this printer a great pick, but its long-term operational costs offset some initial savings
Rating Categories Brother Monochrome... Epson Workforce Pro... Brother MFC-J4335DW Brother HL-L2300D HP DeskJet 2755e
Text Quality (25%)
Operating Cost (25%)
Ease of Use (20%)
Graphics and Photos (15%)
Printing Speed (15%)
Specs Brother Monochrome... Epson Workforce Pro... Brother MFC-J4335DW Brother HL-L2300D HP DeskJet 2755e
Type laser all-in-one inkjet all-in-one inkjet laser all-in-one inkjet
Capabilities print print, scan print, scan, copy, fax print print, scan, copy
Resolution (Black) 2400 x 600 4800 x 2400 unspecified 2400 x 600 1200 x 1200
Resolution (Color) unspecified 4800 x 2400 1200 × 2400 unspecified 4800 x 1200
Supported Paper Sizes Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6 (tray)
Envelope, Custom Sizes (3.0-8.5" (w), 5.0-14" (l)) (manual feed)
3.5 x 5", 4 x 6", 5 x 7", 8 x 10", Letter, Legal, A4, A6, Half Letter, Executive, user-definable (3.5 — 47.2"L), Oficio 9; 8.5 x1 3"; Mexico Oficio 4 x 6", 5 x 7", Letter, Legal, U.S. #10 Envelopes Tray 1: A4; A5; A6; B5 (JIS); Oficio; 16K; 16K 16K ; Japanese Postcard; Double Japan Postcard Rotated; Envelope #10; Envelope Monarch; Envelope B5; Envelope C5; Envelope DL; Custom Size; 4 x 6", 5 x 8"; Statement; Tray 2 & Tray 3: A4; A5; A6; B5 (JIS); Oficio; 16K ; 16K ; 16K, Custom Size; A5-R; 4 x 6"; B6 (JIS) Letter; legal; 4 x 6"; 5 x 7 "; 8 x 10"; No. 10 envelopes, Letter; HP envelopes; HP cards; HP 4 x 6" photo paper
Dimensions (excludes extensions) 14.0" x 14.2" x 7.2" 16.7" x 15.3" x 10.9" 17.7" x 12.0" x 6.0" 16.5" x 15.4" x 12.7" 16.7" x 12" x 6"
Weight 15.1 Ibs 22.5 Ibs 11.9 Ibs 27.8 lbs 7.7 Ibs
Paper Handling Input (sheets) 250 250 sheets 100 sheets plain paper or 20 sheet 4 x 6″ photo paper 100-sheet tray 1, 250-sheet input tray 2; 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) 60
Monthly Duty Cycle 15,000 33,000 30,000 10,000 1,000
2-Sided Printing yes yes yes yes yes (manual, no duplex printing)
Ink Cost per Ream: B/W $13.42 $28.56 $5.50 $16.66 $49.98
Ink Cost per Ream: Color NA $13.40 $7.83 NA $62.48
Estimated Lifetime Cost of Ownership $351 $583 $249 $410 $872
Claimed Pages Per Minute 32 25 (black) or 12 (color) 20 27 7.5 (black)
5.5 (color)
Measured Pages per Minute: Single-Sided B/W 13 10 11 22 4
Connectivity Wireless 802.11 b/g/n, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, Wi Fi Direct WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0 WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0 USB 2.0 - no wireless connection Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n; 1 Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Operating System Compatability Windows® 7 SP1 / 8 / 8.1 1 4 Windows® 10 Home / 10 Pro / 10 Education / 10 Enterprise Windows Server® 2008 Windows Server® 2008 R2 Windows Server® 2012 Windows Server® 2012 R2 Windows Server® 2016 macOS v10.10.5 macOS v10.11.x macOS v10.12.x Windows® 10, Windows 8, 8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista® (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Server® 2003 SP27 — Windows Server 20197 Mac® OS X® 10.6.8 — macOS® 10.15.x8 Linux
macOS (12)
macOS (11)
macOS (10.15)
macOS (10.14)
Windows 11
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1
Windows 7 SP1
Windows 7 SP1
Windows Server 2019
Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server®
2008 R2 Mac OS X
10.7.x, 10.8.x,
10.9.x Windows® XP
Home Edition
Windows® XP
Windows 11; Windows 10; Windows 7; macOS 10.12 Sierra; macOS 10.14 Mojave; macOS 10.15 Catalina; macOS 11 Big Sur; Chrome OS
Google Cloud Print yes yes yes no yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW is a compact printer that is easy to set up, easy to use, and offers users both fast and efficient printing of high-quality black and white documents. It is also an affordable printer that will meet the needs of many home and small office users.

Performance Comparison

With the Brother Monochrome, you can make prints from the convenience of your phone.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Text Quality

We evaluate every printer across a handful of metrics, broken into individual submetrics and tests. Our first test evaluates text quality and focuses on two sub-metrics — black and white text quality and text resolution. All told, we thought the Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW produced great text quality and was only limited by a loss of fidelity due to its grayscale printing of colors, as it is only a black and white printing model.

In our black and white text quality tests, the Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW consistently produced good quality documents. No errors such as weird margins, loss of clarity, ink spots, or random striping were observed. However, despite the lack of errors, the printer received a reduced score due to differences in text hues for different font sizes. The printer excelled in printing standard-sized text, but there were discrepancies observed when printing text in different sizes. Overall the printer consistently produced error-free black and white text prints and scored well in the sub-metric.

When it came down to text resolution, the second sub-metric of text quality, the Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW did well in general; however, at the smallest text size that we tested, our team observed a loss in crispness. The text, although less clear, was still legible. This model generally produced sharp, legible text in most documents, although graphics with different text sizes did blur due in part to text getting lost on the grayscale of the test images.

Operating Cost

As a black and white only printing model, the Brother HLL2350DW unsurprisingly does an exceptional job of keeping operating costs down. The cost per page is low, thanks to the high-yield toner cartridges that can produce up to 3000 pages per ream before needing to be replaced. That works out to an average of three cents per page.

Of course the drawback of black and white printing is that you will not be printing anything in color, but if black and white printing meets your needs, you won't have costly color cartridges to buy and replace. This model does a great job of keeping your black and white print jobs going at a low cost.

brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw home printer review - the brother hll2350dw lacks dark black at the dark end of the...
The Brother HLL2350DW lacks dark black at the dark end of the grayscale.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use

Our ease of use testing includes four sub-metric tests and evaluations, including initial printer setup and unboxing, wireless setup, customer service, and each printer's interface. The Brother HLL2350DW proved that it is a completely usable and capable device, but some improvements could be made to the initial unboxing, wireless setup, and interface to increase its ease of use.

The initial printer setup and unboxing of the Brother HLL2350DW is typical and involves removing a lot of tape. A tiny screen walks through the setup process, but a larger screen would greatly improve the experience. One sticky point of concern was how durable the removable tape was and how much force was required to remove it from parts that felt like they could break.

While the Brother features a USB 2.0 interface for connecting to a single computer and supports Ethernet for wired networking, our sub-metric focuses on wireless use, specifically wireless setup. Unfortunately, during our repeated tests, we consistently struggled to get a wireless connection to the printer, receiving a "Connection Fail" notice each time. Our process of downloading the driver and restarting the printer failed repeatedly. While the printer indicated it was connected on its light-up button, it still was not discoverable on a test laptop.

With connectivity issues in our setup, we were able to thoroughly vet customer service, our third sub-metric. The Brother support website is easy to navigate, the product instruction manual is clear, and the app features a straightforward interface. We used the 'Help Chat' feature and initially interacted with a chatbot before being transferred over to a live agent who was thorough and responsive.

In interface testing, our 4th sub-metric of ease of use testing, we measured and evaluated navigation, intuitiveness, status indicators, displays, and responsiveness of operating the device through the provided interface. In general, we found all the buttons and indicator lights to be helpful, with buttons that were generally responsive and quick, but the screen is rather dim and difficult to see in bright light. It is also an exceptionally small screen, making it even more difficult to see.

brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw home printer review - a tiny and dim display leaves a lot to be desired in terms of ease...
A tiny and dim display leaves a lot to be desired in terms of ease of use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Graphics and Photos

It comes as no surprise that black and white printing has its limitations, and when we put the Brother HLL2350DW through our graphics and photos testing, those limitations became very apparent across our four sub-metrics, photo quality, business graphics, resolution, and color quality.

It's hard for most black and white printers to produce exceptional photo quality as details that rely on color contrast often get lost in the translation to a grayscale. The Brother HLL2350DW is no exception to this expected performance. Our test team observed prints with some striping and a loss of details in the grayscale. Images were always discernible; however, they are not as crisp as other black and white printers that seem to be able to produce a more sharply contrasting grayscale. Photo printing is reliable and repeatable, meaning you can always expect good, but not great, performances every time.

Our test team observed that business graphics suffered, unsurprisingly, the same way that photo prints did. While the text in various graphics is always legible, the gray version of color gradients causes a loss of contrast and strange distortions around some graphics.

The resolution in prints produced by the Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW were also a step back from the performances of the best printers we tested. Text, while legible, tends to get fuzzy and lose definition, in particular on gradients of the grayscale. Photo clarity and fidelity were always good, but a loss of detail occurs without color. Our team also observed pixelation in photos of the sky, which can be a formidable challenge for many printers.

Of course, when we tested color quality, the Brother suffered due to its inability to produce color, and while we found the spectrum of grays to be good, it seemed unable to produce the deepest darkest blacks of a grayscale. Still, our test team found the range of gray translated and reproduced black and white images better than some color printers tested.

brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw home printer review - details in color photos get lost in a grayscale produced by the...
Details in color photos get lost in a grayscale produced by the Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Printing Speed

The Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW is a fast printer that will quickly handle all your black and white printing needs.

We tested the printer's speed with a nine page mixed text and photo document, which it achieved in a quick 42 seconds. We also tested each printer's ability to print a high resolution photo, which it finished in a mere six seconds.

The Brother won't let you down when it comes to both duplex and simplex printing speeds.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Automatic duplex printing also allowed the Brother HLL2350DW to accomplish our 10 page duplex printing test in a very short 46 seconds, or an average of 13 pages per minute. The Brother was equally impressive in our 10 page text document simplex test, with sub-minute performance for an average of 11 pages per minute.

brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw home printer review - a large paper tray will keep your large print jobs turning out in...
A large paper tray will keep your large print jobs turning out in blisteringly fast time.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW?

The Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW is a top pick when it comes to a black and white home printer. It is a very fast printer, produces excellent text quality in the documents it prints, and does a good job of printing photos and graphics that are designed for color printing. If printing forms and text documents like financial reports or your taxes are your primary printing needs, look no further than the Brother HLL2350DW. It will achieve your tasks swiftly, satisfactorily, and at a low operating cost.

What Other Printers Should You Consider?

While Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW is a very capable black and white printer, it is limited in that it cannot produce color prints. If you are looking for the greatest performance in color printing, then consider the all-around exceptional Canon ImageClass MF741Cdw. If budget is more of a concern, then take a look at the more affordable Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820, which offers good and reliable printing performance overall.

brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw home printer review - the brother monochrome compact laser hll2350dw is a fast and capable...
The Brother Monochrome Compact Laser HLL2350DW is a fast and capable black and white printer.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Genaveve Bradshaw and Benjamin Hickok

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