This is the third in a four part series to help you choose a printer within your set budget. The first two post reviewed printer selections in the $150 & the $300 range, now we will look at a top pick in the $500 range. At this price you start to get out of ink jet printers and into laser jet printers. Our top pick in this category is a single-function color Laser printer, the Brother HL-4570CDW.
This is considered a low price for this category but this printer has generous features. Connectivity includes USB, ethernet, and Wi-Fi. It has three standard paper trays: a 250-sheet main input for letter and legal-size paper, a 50 sheet multipurpose feeder for envelopes and thicker or odd-size media, and a 150-sheet top output bin. You also get automatic duplexing not bad for a printer in this class.
Performance is also quite good, the HL-4570CDW printed plain text pages at an above average rate of 16 pages per minute, even on photos it managed a very competitive speed of 3.2 ppm. As with almost any laser printer, especially a lower cost model such as the HL-4570CDW, photo quality is an issue. Color graphics & photos on plain paper looked slightly dull and exhibited distracting background patterning. Changing to higher-quality settings and using glossy laser paper helps somewhat. But if you are looking to print high quality photo’s you would do much better looking at one of the high end ink jet printers that are made for this, such as what Canon and Epson has to offer, but that’s another post altogether.
Other choices that may appeal to you is the Oki MC361 Color MFP at $549, and the Canon ImageClass MF8380Cdw color Laser MFP at around $600.
The bottom line when choosing a printer is to consider the type of printing you do. Are you printing mostly black text and going through reams of paper or are you more interested in printing high-end photos. Do your research first before going to a big box store and just buying what the store clerk shows you what’s on their shelf, most of time when you get the printer home you will find out that it really is not the best printer for your needs.