Monday, July 11, 2011

Our (Brief) Foray into a Brother HL-2280DW All In One Laser Printer

Update at bottom (7/12/2011)
The Bad:
Can't scan multiple pages in to a single document
Wireless is not so easy to configure (I'm in IT).
Drivers won't be automatically detected (It's 2011 guys)

The Good:
It prints quickly
It scans (one page) quickly, with decent image quality.


We have been printing and scanning quite a bit so decided we would get an AIO.  We wanted a laser printer as an ink toner cartridge that lasts 500 pages won't go far with 30-40 page documents.  That said we spent quite a bit of time looking around and we found the Brother HL-2280 Printer was a small and inexpensive device which takes a Brother TN-450 toner cartridge that provides a decent cost per page.  My girlfriend went to Staples to play with and purchase the said printer and the cashier, the clerk informed her that the starter toner in the printer would only print 20 (twenty) pages before running out, and therefore she should purchase a new toner to go with it; he offered to sell her a TN-420.  Really?  Lying Thieves, thankfully she wasn't suckered in by this gimmick.  For reference, the printer comes with a TN-420 toner cartridge which according to prints 1,200 pages.  I can only assume that the pimply geek with huge gauge holes in his ears was flat out lying in order to get her to purchase a toner cartridge and improve his sales attach rate.  Also, the two year warranty is only 29.99.  Thanks, we'll pass. I hope it dies before two years is up so it can fill a dumpster somewhere.

Step 1) Plug in, configure wifi (Fail #1)
With the printer at home I plug it in, and turn it on.  Open the menu, go to wifi and use the wifi protected setup menu, which i've admittedly never used.  I choose the option where it gives me a code that i type in to the router, and then the devices pair.  60 seconds later my belkin router says device connected successfully, and the printer spits out a page saying failed.  I tried a couple variations of this and eventually gave up.  Ultimately I connected to the printer via an ethernet cable, connected to the web interface with the default username of admin and the default password of password and managed to configure the wireless from there.

Step 2) Connect to computer (Fail #2)
I used the add a printer wizard in Windows 7 and to my delight it was quickly detected.  Except the printer driver wasn't found.  I went to the brother website and download the printer driver, installed it via computer management and I'm off to the races!

Step 3) Print a document (The only successful step)
It prints. Oh, and it can print on both sides / duplex perfectly.

Step 4) Scan a document (Fail #3) (Update below)
I press the scan button expecting the scan to email function similar to other brother AIO's I've used.  It says check connection.  This device can only perform the scanning functions through the brother software.  No problem I say! I download the 130MB software, install it (reboot required... ugh it's 2011), and scan a document.  All of the defaults scan to JPG, including scan to email or file.  I change it to default to PDF and go to scan my document.  As it turns out, this brother All In One HL-2280DW IS NOT CAPABLE of scanning multiple pages in to a single document.  Say you want to scan and email a 2 page document, you will need to scan it in to two separate files and email them separately.  The scanner we had some 12 or 15 years ago was capable of this simple functionality.  Press scan, it scans the document, asks you if there are any more pages, and either scans the next page or finishes with the file.

Step 5) Return for full refund.
Reason stated on return claim: defective.

My Backstory:
I have installed and used multiple brother all in one laser devices and figured I'd give them a shot since at the budget end their cost per page is far lower than the competing HP model (1.7c/page vs 5c/page).  I have no previous hatred of brother until this new device was purchased (and about to become returned).

It turns out it is possible to scan multiple pages. The preferences menu doesn't show the option, but if you right click on the email or file button for example, and go to settings you get almost the exact same menu you find under preferences, but it has a checkbox for manual scan. It does work. The downside is you must return to your computer to press the next page button, and the software on the computer effectively does a new scan job and stitches the two together. This is clearly a piece of equipment meant for scanning one page things, and the software isn't well designed (why does the checkbox only show up on right click -> settings, instead of the main preferences tab you get?


  1. This is so cool..thanks so much for the info. Love it!

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