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Brother HL-L2360DW review: A simple black laser printer with quick prints and a future-proof design

Of course, the biggest draw of the updated model is wireless printing from your Android or iOS device using Brother's in-house iPrint & Scan app. The app is straightforward and carries various templates that you can use to create custom projects featuring your own photos, or even an entire photo album. You can print your own mailing labels as well by importing names and addresses directly from your phone's contact list.

Brother supports devices running iOS 6 and Android 2.2 or above, but if you don't happen to have a compatible device, you can always shake hands over AirPrint, Apple's own wireless printing format for iOS, as well as Google CloudPrint, the search giant's browser extension which can print from any device running a version of Google's Chrome Web browser -- each window has a small print button on the toolbar that combs your network for a device that will accept a Cloud Print connection.

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The HL-L2360DW includes 32MB of internal memory and a robust 266MHz processor that lets you send more documents through the printer and generally speed up the whole printing process.

Unfortunately, Brother only offers a "starter" toner cartridge with the unit that lasts about 700 pages -- that's 3,000 pages less than the starter cartridge they included with the older HL-2270DW. That's an annoying step back, but the good news is that after you deplete the one in the box, you can purchase your own standard cartridge for $50, which that can yield approximately 2,600 pages at a very cost-efficient 1.9 cents per page.

Performance

The HL-L2360DW performed similarly to the HL-2270DW in our speed tests, which was expected based on the similar print engine inside. The samples we printed on standard 20-pound paper with the quality set to "best" appear even with clear fonts all the way down to 2-point Times New Roman.

The individual letters were also free from line breaks and fuzzy edges. The graphics sample we printed, however, didn't fare as well. The gradient steps were so abrupt that a severe checkered pattern appeared where the printer obviously couldn't handle the transitions. The small photos we printed appeared fuzzy in the shadow regions in addition to the overall digitized effects, but this is also standard fare for laser toner, which usually can't compare to the graphics output of an inkjet printhead.

Brother stands by all of its monochrome laser printers with a one-year Express Exchange limited warranty, in addition to a toll-free customer service number for troubleshooting.

If you're looking for an alternative but want to stay in the Brother family of mono laser printers, you have the option of choosing three new models in the same price range. For a fraction more, the DCP-L2540DW beefs up the features with a flatbed scanner, copier, an auto-document feeder (ADF) for scanning batches, and a auto-duplexer that saves money by flipping the page over and printing on the other side. As long as you don't mind the extra bulk, it looks like a worthy option for high volume multitasking.

Conclusion

If you already took our advice and own the HL-2270DW laser printer, you don't need to upgrade unless you're really anxious about printing on-the-go. On the other hand, if you're shopping for a text-only printer that won't empty your wallet with toner refills, the HL-2360DW is a strong choice.

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