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9/96 Reviews HW: Brother HL-720

Listing of September 1996 Reviews

Laser Printing at an Ink Jet Price

By Cheryl Dominianni

If you're trying to choose between an ink jet and a laser printer, you should consider Brother's just-released HL-720 laser with true 600x600dpi resolution. The price range for good printers in both groups is now so close that features become the deciding factor. If you're willing to forsake color printing, you're probably looking for the traditional laser advantages of speed, professional looking print, and the ability to produce excellent, dependable results with a wide variety of paper.

In all these respects, the HL-720 laser printer met my expectations. After a wait time of approximately 30 seconds, it delivered the promised six pages in just under a minute. The print quality was crisp and clean, and it handled 20-weight paper, card stock, sheet labels and envelopes effortlessly.

Visually, this is an attractive unit with a sleek, modern appearance. Its 14.4-by-13.9-inch footprint makes it compact enough to fit on your desk easily, and its 14.3 pounds make it easy to transport. De-spite its diminutive size, the HL-720 has a sturdy look and feel to it. You can load A4, letter, legal, B5 and A5 paper sizes, with weights from 16 to 42 pounds. The paper tray holds up to 100 sheets, and you can also print transparencies, postcards and labels.

The HL-720, made specifically for Windows printing, installs quickly and simply. Just connect the cable (use a high-quality bidirectional printer cable), install the drum and toner cartridge units, and then install the printer drivers from the disks provided. You should be up and running in minutes. The straight paper path design enables its vast variety of paper stocks and makes paper jams and curling unlikely. It prints envelopes in various sizes, and they, too, emerge in almost perfect condition.

The toner cartridge costs approximately $34 and should deliver about 2,200 pages.

The HL-720's sleep mode is a real energy saver. When the printer doesn't receive data for a specified time (5 minutes is the default), it goes into the sleep mode to save electricity. Sending a job to the printer awakens it.

I would have liked slightly darker print and less noise while the actual printing is taking place, but these are minor quibbles. In fact, the HL-720 performed so admirably while I tested it over a week's time that I never needed to go back to my larger, far more expensive office laser printer. If you've decided to choose a laser printer, this one deserves your careful consideration.

--Info File--
Brother HL-720
Pros: Crisp images; straight paper path
Cons: Somewhat noisy while printing
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x
Brother International Corp.
WinMag Box Score: 4.0

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