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-- by Hailey Lynne McKeefry
By The Brother HL-1660 straddles two worlds. This printer fits the bill for prophetic users who may someday need a network printer, as well as for those who want immediate workgroup functionality without the high cost of network printers designed for corporate users.
Although not on the cutting edge in speed or resolution, this printer offers acceptable performance in both areas. With up to 17 page-per-minute output for letter-sized pages, workgroup users will find this printer's speed highly satisfactory, while single users will feel both pleased and pampered. The HL-1660 produces crisp, clear text at 600x600 dots per inch and graphics at 1200x600dpi. I was impressed by how quickly it started producing pages-about 10 seconds after my word processing application's command.
With a 500-sheet input cassette and a 150-sheet multipurpose tray, the HL-1660 has standard paper-handling capabilities. If you need more capacity, an optional 500-sheet letter tray and a duplexing unit are available. The HL-1660 handles letter, legal, A4, B5 and Executive paper sizes, as well as envelopes, transparencies and labels.
The printer includes an RS-232C serial port and a Centronics-style high-speed, bidirectional parallel port for easy connection to a single computer; an industry-standard network interface card (NIC) can, however, be added through the modular input/output port. If you want a network setup, the HL-1660N, which I did not test, comes with a multiprotocol Ethernet LAN interface card/network print server.
Additional standard features include 4MB of memory; PCMCIA Type I, II and III expansion bus slots to allow adding flash memory or storage; 87 resident fonts; and 11 resident bar-code fonts (more fonts can be added through an HP-compatible font cartridge slot). You can also upgrade memory to 66MB.
Setup was simple. After sliding in a one-piece toner cartridge and attaching the parallel and power cables, the printer was ready. With a footprint of 14.6 by 15.5 by 12.9 inches, this 32-pound unit is a pleasure if you want to keep the printer right on the desktop.
Because it straddles two worlds-with a higher price tag than most page printers and fewer built-in networking features than many workgroup printers-the Brother HL-1660 doesn't displace any of the units on our Recommended List. However, at $1,299, the HL-1660 is an option if you want robust features at an affordable price.