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Hands-on Gear Review
Brother HL-L8350CDW Review
Price: $400 List | $309.39 at Amazon
Pros: Low operating costs
Cons: High initial cost
Bottom line: Great long term investment if you see high printing volumes in your future
The Brother HL-L8350CDW is a single function color laser printer. It produces good but not perfect text that is perfectly acceptable for most applications. It really comes into its own with volume. The HL-L8350CDW's operating cost are incredibly low and it uses large toner cartridges that don't need to be replaced often. If you print in large volumes this model will certainly save you money in the long run. Just make sure you have plenty of desk space, it is fairly large for a single function model. If you print infrequently you'll probably be better choosing a model with a lower up front cost.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Criteria for Evaluation
This graph compares how the Brother HL-L8350CDW performed in our tests (in blue) to the other models we put through the wringer.
Read on to see how the HL-L8350CDW did in each one of our individual testing metrics.
The Brother HL-L8350CDW was slightly above average in our text quality testing, picking up a score of 6, putting it right in the middle of a metric that had scores between 3 and 9. The text had near perfect clarity with clean, crisp edges and great resolution. However, characters often looked very light and had numerous white blots within their borders. This wasn't terribly distracting, but it wa a clear disadvantage when compared to the higher scoring models.
The HL-L8350CDW was one of the most economical printers we tested, sharing the top step of the podium with a score of 7 in our cost testing. This put it well ahead of the bottom scorers, which scored 2's. It prints black and white pages at the incredible rate of just about $0.01 per page, or $6.75 a ream. This was the lowest monochrome printing cost we encountered. It also prints color very inexpensively at about $0.07 per page or $36.86 per ream of paper. It also had a fairly reasonable estimated lifetime cost of $465. If you print large quantities of monochrome text you can't beat the HL-L8350CDW on price.
Ease of Use
The HL-L8350CDW scored a 7 on our ease of use testing, placing it fairly well in a metric that had scores ranging from 4 to 9. Our testers found the initial setup to be easy and straightforward. We were printing wirelessly almost right out of the box. There is also a USB port on the front of the device for printing directly from a flash drive. The HL-L8350CDW is a simple, single function printer, and it has a correspondingly simple interface of just a few buttons and a single line LCD screen. Our testers did not find this interface prohibitive in any way during setup, but it is not a great trouble shooting platform. Also, the HL-L8350CDW is quite large for a single function printer, and is close to the size of an all-in-one. These things kept if from receiving a higher ease of use score.
The HL-L8350CDW was a fairly poor graphics performer. It scored a 4 in this metric, just slightly better than the low score of 2 but a good bit behind the top score of 7. It handled business graphics fairly well with good resolution and just a bit of pixelation. Graphs and pie charts looks sharp and had good colors when produced by the HL-L8350CDW. Photos also had good colors, but they had a number of odd artifacts and poor resolution. This is where the HL-L8350CDW lost points in this metric. If you're only printing simple graphics the HL-L8350CDW will serve you well, but if you're looking to sprinkle some photos into your documents there are better models out there.
The HL-L8350CDW displayed average printing speed in our tests. It scored a 6 in this metric, which had scores ranging from 2 to 9. It registered a speed of 13 pages per minute when printing single sided, black and white text documents. This was about half the speed of the fastest model, but double the speed of the slowest. It slowed down to 8 pages a minute when printing double sided, and got through a full page photograph in 64 seconds. All of these are respectable speeds, but we would have expected more from a single function laser printer.
The HL-L8350CDW has a list price of $400, and at the time of this writing was available online for up to $100 less. This is a very high price, especially for a single function printer. If you print in large volumes the low operating costs can more than make up for this initial investment, but if you only print occasionally it is prohibitively expensive.
The HL-L8350CDW is a great printer that produces decent text and good graphics. If you don't need the functionality of an all-in-one and print a lot, this is a great and economical choice. If you don't print very much you should look for a model with a lower initial cost.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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