If you want to step up from a monochrome to a colour laser printer, but don't want to pay through the nose for the privilege, Brother's HL-4140CN looks to be a pretty good bet. Available for around £300 online, it's one of the entry-level models in Brother's line-up, but it uses the same print engine as the company's more expensive printers.
Like most of today's colour laser printers, this one is a hefty beast, measuring 410 by 313 by 486mm, so you're going to have to dedicate a serious amount of space to it in your home office. The design is quite snazzy, though. The rounded corners, and off-white plus dark grey finish, give it an arty look that will sit well with designers and the like.
The top of the printer is home to the recessed paper output tray. The tray has a flip-up plastic wedge that helps to stop paper from being spewed out over the top and onto the floor. To the left of this tray, you'll find the control panel, which includes a flip-up, two-line LCD display that, by default, shows the toner levels left in each of the printer's four cartridges. There are also various buttons for moving through this model's fairly simple menus, as well as cancel and 'go' buttons at the front.
The bottom is home to a pull-out tray that can hold up to 250 sheets of paper, but there's also a multi-purpose tray above it, hidden behind a pull-down panel. This tray can accept a range of different paper sizes, and is ideal for printing envelopes or smaller sheets of paper. It accepts up to 50 sheets at a time.
Just above this tray, on the left-hand side, there's a USB port that can be used for direct printing of a small range of file formats, including JPEG, TIFF, XPS and PDF. It's a handy feature to have, but navigating through files held on a memory key using the small two-line display can be a tedious experience.
Setting up this model takes a little while because there are quite a few protective tags and labels that first have to be removed. Also, although the print drum and toner cartridges are pre-installed, they have to be taken out of the slot in the body of the printer so you can remove various safety tabs and shake the cartridges around to more evenly distribute the toner. Once the cartridges have been replaced, you then need to install the printer driver software on your PC.
The printer has both Ethernet and USB ports, although, sadly, there's no Wi-Fi support. Setting it up to work with your computer is pretty straightforward, as the installation disc guides you through the whole process, step by step.