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The Brother HL-L2390DW ($149) is a monochrome laser all-in-one printer priced for budget-conscious small- and home-office users. Compared to the more full-featured Brother MFC-L2750DW, this Brother model offers a more basic set of features, but it has many of the same benefits. For example, the HL-L2390DW has scan and copy functions and a duplexer for two-sided printing, but it does not offer faxing or an automatic document feeder.
It also offers similarly fast performance. The two models are enough alike, in fact, that the HL-L2390DW and the MFC-L2750DW share an online manual. Rated with the same monthly duty cycle of 15,000 pages, it offers a recommended monthly print volume of up to 2,000 pages.
The HL-L2390DW forgoes fancy appearances. For starters, it has a simple two-line, backlit, monochrome LCD, not a color touch screen. To navigate the screen's menu options, you press the physical up/down buttons on the front panel. Interestingly, this is not a four-way control; there are no left/right buttons.
The lid for the scanner is light because this model does not have an automatic document feeder (ADF), which would have sped up multipage copying and scanning. Because the lid's hinges offer no resistance to hold it up at an acute angle, you'll need to lift it 90 degrees to free both of your hands for loading documents. Measuring 16.1 x 15.7 x 10.7 inches, the unit has a similar footprint to a home inkjet printer, only taller. Unlike some other printers that occupy more space when an output tray catch is extended, the HL-L2390DW's output tray is a cavity within the body; its hinged catch extends less than an inch from the front of the chassis.
The 250-sheet input tray is on the bottom of the chassis. Above it, on the front panel, is a manual feed slot that sits behind a door that hinges downward. This offers a straight-through paper path for specialty media; you open a door on the back of the unit where the prints exit. The manual feed slot can hold up to 10 envelopes.
Conveniently, when you first open the input tray to add paper, the screen asks if you are changing the size of the paper. If not, you get the option to turn off this notification.
|Print, copy, scan
|Two-line monochrome LCD screen
|Cost Per Page
|3.7 cents (standard); 2.7 cents (XL)
|802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct
The HL-L2390DW printed our five-page text document in 18.1 seconds, or 16.6 pages per minute — faster than the average of 20.9 seconds (14.4 ppm). The Brother MFC-L2750DW (our Editors' Choice) turned in the fastest time to date: 16.2 seconds, or 18.5 ppm.
The HL-L2390DW printed our mixed text-and-graphics file in 25.2 seconds, or 14.3 ppm. This was significantly faster than the average of 36.7 seconds, or 9.8 ppm. (The speedy MFC-L2750DW was the quickest, almost 5 seconds faster, at 17.8 ppm.)
The HL-L2390DW prints two-sided text documents quicker than the slowest speed for making single-sided prints. Printing both sides at 11.4 ppm, the HL-L2390DW outpaced the one-sided print speed of the pokey HP LaserJet Pro M277dw, which clocked in at 11.1 ppm. The MFC-L2750DW was even faster, at 13.2 ppm.
Similarly, the HL-L2390DW printed mixed text-and-graphics documents to two-sided sheets at a decent speed of 7.8 ppm. The MFC-L2750DW was even quicker, at 11 ppm.
Copy and Scan Speed
Whether copying a text page or mixed text and graphics in black and white, the HL-L2390DW made a single copy in 9.1 seconds, on average — faster than the category average of 10.3 seconds. The MFC-L2750DW turned in the fastest time to date, 8.4 seconds.
The HL-L2390DW was also fast at making a 600-dpi color scan to JPEG format, doing so in 34.5 seconds, versus the average of 36.9 seconds. It scanned a page at 300 dpi and made a black-and-white PDF in 6.6 seconds — the fastest time for the category, and much faster than the average of 10.4 seconds.
|B&W Print Time
|Photo Print Time
|Grayscale Scan Time
|Color Scan Time
Text documents looked sharp, printing with dark letterforms with well-defined edges. Graphics looked attractive, too, though they were a little dark in general. Photographs of people were produced well, mostly because the midtone transitions retained their subtlety, giving faces a three-dimensional look. Shadow areas, however, lost some details. In comparison, the Canon MF217w made lighter prints in general that retained more details in shadow areas, but the less-subtle midtone transitions gave people's faces a flat appearance.
Scans of documents had plenty of detail. The HL-L2390DW made black-and-white reproductions in PDF format that looked sharp and true to the original. Scans of photographs at 600 dpi to JPEG format looked attractive, with accurate colors and ample fine details.
Toner Cost and Yield
Printing costs are better than the average of 4.1 cents for similar models. The HL-L2390DW makes prints for 3.7 cents, using its standard $45 toner cartridge, which is rated to last 1,200 pages. Using the $80 high-capacity cartridge, which is estimated to last 3,000 pages, you can lower that cost to 2.7 cents per page.
Setup and Software
Setup was simple, following the quick setup guide. You remove some packaging tape and slide the drum/toner assembly into the front of the device. Then, you perform the software installation.
An installation DVD-ROM comes in the box. Alternatively, you can go to the support URL in the setup guide for the full download, which includes the printing and scanning software called iPrint&Scan. You can also install PaperPort for scanning and document management.
The wireless connection was easy to set up, using the WPS method whereby the menu prompts guide you when to press the WPS button on your router to establish the connection.
The HL-L2390DW supports AirPrint, Wi-Fi Direct and Google Cloud Print, and it works with the company's Android app, iPrint&Scan. Before you install the Android app, you are instructed to download the Mopria Print Service app.
Startup time is on the slower side, at roughly 27 seconds, versus the average of 20.6 seconds.
The HL-L2390DW offers speedy performance and high image quality for a low price. While the features are basic, there's no need to pay for them if you don't need them. For example, the much pricier Brother MFC-L2750DW offers cloud printing features and an Ethernet connection, whereas the HL-L2390DW does not. But the HL-L2390DW has a speedy duplexer, and its very low cost per page makes it a solid bargain in the long run.
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Eric Butterfield is a freelance writer and musician from California. His work has appeared in PC World magazine, CNET, Taproot, and Alter Action — plus Tom's Guide, of course — while his music has appeared in more than 260 TV show episodes for major networks such as NBC, Hulu, BBC America, and more. You can check out his work on Spotify.