A Brother DCP-L3550CDW Review

Colour laser printers can be a major improvement if you are someone only used to black and white inkjet printers. Not only do they deliver higher quality resolutions and prints, but they are faster and you don’t have to worry about smudging.

Nowadays, a laser printer can be very affordable. While an inkjet is still cheaper in comparison, the cost of these printers has decreased in recent years making them much more accessible than ever before. You will find yourself disappointed if you need to print out photos or if you require good colour accuracy without one. However, as long as these aren’t relative dealbreakers for you, a colour laser is the optimal choice.

A Brother DCP-L3550CDW

Printer specification:

  • Printer type: Colour
  • Function: Print, Copy and Scan
  • Display: Colour touchscreen
  • Display size: 9.3cm Colour Touchscreen
  • Max paper size: A4
  • Memory: 512MB
  • Connectivity: Wired Network, Wireless
  • Local interface: Hi-Speed USB 2.0
  • Mobile connectivity: Supported
  • Copying: 2-sided copy: No
  • Resolution: Up to 600 x 600dpi
  • Speed
  • Up to 18 copies per minute
  • Enlargement / reduction ratio: Reduce or increase document size from 25% to 400% in 1% increments
  • Dimensions: 410 (W) x 475 (D) x 414 (H) mm
  • Weight: 23.2Kg kg

While they are called laser printers, that’s not necessarily the most accurate description. They are better described as LED printers. After all, they function by using an array of LED lights to create an image rather than a laser. Because these technologies are similar, you may not be able to tell the difference. However, even the manufacturer Brother calls them LED laser printers.

This particular model is a budget model. It features a 2-line matrix LCD instead of the coloured screen you will routinely find on a lot of the more premium models. Another missing feature is an auto-document feeder. You don’t get an auto-document feeder with this model which can make it extremely time-consuming to scan a lot of pages at a time. This is particularly true if these pages have two sides to them.

However, it is capable of printing on two sides. This can save you time and money. Likewise, it’s better for the environment. After all, you will save trees with it.

Despite it being a budget model, it’s wireless. It features both Wi-Fi and the various ports you would need including a USB port for excellent compatibility. It even supports AirPrint which will allow you to print from all of your favourite Apple devices. Likewise, if you have an Android, you can always install and use Brother’s very own Android application.

This printer is fairly large. It weighs in at 27.6kg and measures 589 x 523 x 568mm. Therefore, you cannot hide it as easily as you would a smaller inkjet printer. However, it does come shipped with toner cartridges that you can use to print nearly 1000 pages before needing to replace them. Like a lot of the newer printers, you’re not in control over when you replace them. Therefore, even if you aren’t experiencing problems with your prints, it’s not going to print beyond a certain point.

Its paper tray holds up to 250 sheets at a time. You can also feed sheets manually if preferred. You will find that both the tray and the manual feed will take media that is up to 163g/m2.

A Brother DCP-L3550CDW

The Design and Setup Process

While you wouldn’t mistake this printer for being stylish, it’s not a sore thumb either. It’s a very practical and functional design that you can count on. You can control the printer with a smaller 9.3cm colour touchscreen. Brother is a brand that has spent the majority of its design budget on creating a functional printer. This printer is capable of multitasking exceptionally well. You can scan a piece of paper while you are completing a print job. You can even utilise the feature that allows you to copy new pages while the previous job is being finished.

The Printing Speeds

This is a big factor in a lot of people’s purchasing decisions. This particular model isn’t necessarily the quickest. It’s only rated at 18ppm in both colour and black printing. Whereas, duplexed colours print at 5.6ppm. The printer delivers 14 in mono and 17 seconds in colour. On the other hand, any single page photocopies ended up getting printed quickly. Multi-page ADF copies took 47 seconds.

Any scans made were relatively quick. It delivered previews and lower resolution scans at fewer than 7 seconds. However, at higher resolutions of 1,200dpi, the printer slowed down. That’s to be expected though. Even scanning a 10x15cm photo only took around 44 seconds which is noticeably quick for the job. The overall quality of the prints is fantastic. The printer delivers sharp text and glitch-free graphics. However, you will find that pages do lack some of the sheens that you will find premium printers delivering.

The Performance

Any copies made were far too dark without changing any settings. However, the scans that were completed were some of the best in any device in the market. This particular model uses completely separate toner, drum, belt, and waste toner consumables. Because of this, you get cheaper to run a printer. However, this can be a lot to manage for the average printer user. The total cost per print runs around 2p per black print and 8.4p whenever printing with colour. This isn’t necessarily high for a printer in this budget category.

Operational Costs

You will be able to score some authentic TN243 toners from Brother directly. You won’t have to spend more than £140 on them. However, you can always find cheaper sets that would only cost you around £60. However, you run the risk of them not being fully compatible.

When using official toners, you’re going to run costs of around 4p for black prints and 10p for coloured prints. While this isn’t the cheapest printer to run, it’s not overly expensive either.

Price and Availability

You can find this printer on Brother’s website. On the site, you can expect to pay an MSRP of € 380 / £299.

A Conclusion:

This particular printer is a good value. However, Brother delivered even better value with their MFC-L3770CDW as it offers more features and faster printing for around the same price. It comes in at only £10 more at the time of this article. Paying the extra £10 will deliver you faster prints, 30-page multipurpose input, a USB slot for direct printing and scanning, and more.

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