The Brother HL-2270DW is the follow-up to the immensely popular HL-2170W. The 2170W was popular for its amazing value and print quality. It was also wildly popular because of a neat toner trick to get it to print more pages out of the toner, even when the printer claimed the toner needed replacing. The one big knock of the 2170W was the difficult wireless setup and for being only able to use one network connection at a time-- either Ethernet or WiFi. The 2270DW adds an automatic duplexer and also improves performance.
- Fast, fast, fast
- Great print quality
- 3 connectivity options including WiFi
- Automatic duplexer
- Supports Windows XP/2000/Vista/7, Mac OS X, and various Linux distros
- Good looking
- Great value
- Starter toner rated at only 700 pages
- Slight curl for duplex printouts
- Uses different and more expensive toner than 2170W
- WiFi limited to 802.11b/g
Once upon a time, I used to have an NEC laser printer, a generic scanner, and an Epson photo printer all on my desk. Well that got old and I consolidated to a multifunction printer and the last 3 printers I owned have all been color inkjet MFP's. The advantages were many but the one drawback was major. The cost per page for inkjet prints became huge, even when printing in black & white. Many color inkjet printers still use color inks when printing in black & white, thus requiring you to replace not only the black ink cartridges, but some of the color ones as well. For me, magenta and yellow frequently ran out, even though we ONLY ever printed in black & white. I'd finally had enough and sought out a solution. As recently as 3 weeks ago, I was able to purchase the 2170W for my parents for a great price and was going to get one myself but they all went out of stock or had gone up in price. Then I found out that they were being discontinued and the 2270DW was the newer model. I pulled the trigger and have not looked back.
2270DW vs. 2170W
The difference between the older 2170W and the newer 2270DW isn't limited to just the change in exterior color. Considering that the base MSRP remains the same, the 2270DW is an outstanding bargain. The 2270DW is slightly faster at 27ppm vs. 22ppm for the 2170W. The 2270DW also uses a 200MHz processor vs. the old 181MHz CPU. The dimensions are identical except that the 2270DW is half an inch taller and happens to weigh almost a half a pound more. I'm guessing the automatic duplexer is responsible for the slightly larger size. Brother also decided to get cheap and included a starter toner rated for only 700 pages, whereas the 2170W was 1000 pages or 2 full reams of paper. The 2270DW also adds GDI printing
The toner and drum are pre-installed but you have to remove it and prep (shake) it before use. I found the Quick Start Guide to be pretty clear and useful for all three connection methods. WiFi configuration is still a bit hokey, but it was easy enough in my opinion.
The USB install was a cinch. Install the drivers off of the disc or download them from Brother's website, then plug the USB cable (not included) into your computer and you're good to go.
Though the printer's wireless abilities are nice to have, I prefer to use the Ethernet connection to plug the printer directly into my wireless router. This still allows me to print wirelessly from my laptop and via a hardware switch from my desktop. I also don't have to fiddle with the wireless settings and have a stronger, more reliable connection through my router. Using the install wizard, I selected Peer-to-Peer Network Printer as my preferred network print type and was off and running. I performed the same setup on my laptop over WiFi and installed perfectly. One note, I could not quickly find the MAC address to the Ethernet port so I disabled MAC filtering on my router temporarily. If you don't use MAC filtering, then you have nothing to worry about. Afterwards, I found out that you can print the settings from within the Brother print driver and find the MAC address.
I think a lot of people think they need a WiFi printer to print wireless but most people have wireless routers already that they can just connect the printer to with an Ethernet cable. A printer with WiFi is really only useful if it won't be attached to your router and want it completely independent. As with the 2170W, the 2270DW requires it to be temporarily connected by USB cable or Ethernet to configure the wireless settings, unless, your wireless router supports WiFi Protected Setup or AOSS. The installation wizard on the CD-ROM is pretty straight-forward and I found the install to be painless. Although, if you are using MAC filtering and not broadcasting your SSID, you'll probably want to reverse those temporarily to configure it then switch it back. This is especially true if you are trying to configure the WiFi AFTER you've already set it up by Ethernet and using BRAdmin to do it. To find the internal wireless card's MAC address, hold down the Go button for 10 seconds until it prints a network config page that will enable/disable WiFi and also show you the MAC address. I don't really need WiFi so I only performed the install for the sake of reviewing the procedure.
Time to print has been improved on the 2270DW by nearly 2 seconds, so less time warming up from sleep or off. The actual print speed improvement is less noticeable but 27ppm is insanely fast. I thought my Consumer Reports #1 rated, HP All-in-One Printer was pretty fast, but the 2270DW is at least twice as fast. Text output, even really tiny fonts, looked great. Graphics were also very good. The 2270DW still supports the most current PCL printer language, developed by HP. Oddly though, Brother decided to add GDI capabilities, which is also known as host-based printing and is typically used on low-end printers that put all the printer processing burden on the PC, rather than on the printer's hardware. For example, Brother's bare-bones, cheap 2140 laser printer is GDI only. The 2270DW already has PCL 6 support so I don't see any benefit to having GDI. Even if using a high-end PC might possibly achieve faster to-print speeds, I would think the extra load put on the PC would be a hindrance over just letting the printer's hardware take care of it. I would personally never buy a GDI-only printer. Lastly, given how recently this printer was released, I'm disappointed they didn't include the better 802.11n Wifi support.
The 2270DW is noisier than the 2170W, so if you didn't like the 2170W for its noise, then you definitely won't like the noise from the 2270DW. The fan does stay on for several minutes after it prints but shuts off eventually and then becomes totally silent. The sounds of a laser printer are a welcome change from the wonky noises that my inkjet printers made.
If you decide to use the automatic duplexer, it will add more time to your printouts, but what a convenience to not have to manually flip over sheets of paper. Brother rates the duplexer speed to 10 sides per minute. I've always liked the idea of using both sides of a sheet of paper. Save them trees! The duplexer on the 2270DW works well and I have not had any jams, knock on the wood of one of those trees I just saved. Aside from having network printing, the duplexer is my favorite feature of the 2270DW. The only downside to using the duplexer is that it has a noticeable curl. A commenter suggested that heavier paper (24 lb) as opposed to the more commonly used 20 lb paper might help reduce the curl and paper jams.
The drivers for the 2270DW include a lot of customization options for your printer, including using the Toner Saver Mode, which is similar to Draft Mode in inkjet printers. Unless you are printing a resume, the Toner Saver Mode is more than good enough for daily print jobs. Additionally, Brother laser printers have the ability to upgrade firmware. Given that the 2270DW is brand new, this is an important ability to note because bug fixes and performance improvements are sure to become available down the road. The most current version of the firmware as of this writing is v1.02. You can also install various administrator utilities for configuration and monitoring (BRAdmin). I used BRAdmin to change the Sleep time from 3 minutes to 2. Another neat feature is that you can use web based management by putting the IP address of your printer into a web browser. This is a great way to review settings and other useful information like how many pages you've printed, remaining drum life, serial number, and firmware version.
COST PER PAGE
The high-yield (2600 pages) genuine Brother toner (TN450) from Amazon is currently $46, which equates to about 1.8 cents per page. That is ridiculous! It is so much cheaper than most inkjets, which can cost between 4 cents and 8 cents per page of text. The only bummer is that the Brother drum unit (DR420) currently costs $84. At that price, if my 2270DW's drum needed replacing, I would probably just end up buying a new printer. The drum is rated at 12,000 pages, which is 24 reams of paper. A lot of factors go into when the drum unit should be replaced but given that I personally don't print more than a ream of paper per year, it would last me 24 years, or basically the life of the printer. Factoring in the cost of a new drum unit, I calculated the cost per page to only increase to 2.5 cents per page. Whenever 3rd party toner cartridges become available, the overall cost is sure to drop even more.
RE: Toner trick. I believe Brother wised up and created the new TN450 toner specifically to address the toner trick. I could not find any holes or openings in the toner or drum unit that could be covered up like the 2170W's TN360 toner. As long as I get close to the rated output for the toner, I'm ok with this. One of the reasons why the toner trick for the 2170W was so lauded is because Brother's method for measuring the toner was inaccurate. I am hopeful that they have improved their measurement method and the trick is no longer necessary.
I love the 250 sheet main paper tray because I no longer have to feed the paper tray on a monthly basis. The manual feed "slot" only accepts one sheet at a time to feed labels and envelopes. Since I use self-adhesive envelopes, I refrained from printing on them. Also, though I was very tempted to, I did not feed any of my inkjet labels through the manual feed slot. Brother does not recommend using inkjet paper due to the risk of paper jams.
I found the multifunctional "Go" button to be confusing. I think a cheat sheet card would have been very helpful to keep all the functions straight. For example, you can hold it down for various lengths of time to make it do different things like reprinting the last print job or pushing it several times in order to continue printing when the low toner warning light comes on.
The 2270DW uses more energy during printing than the 2170W, but less in standby mode.
Out of the 11 monochrome laser printers that Consumer Reports tested, only 2 garnered their "Recommended" rating. Both were Brother printers.
I can't imagine the Brother HL-2270DW not reaching the same heights that the HL-2170W did. The 2270DW performs very well, has great features, and is inexpensive to buy and to operate. If I didn't still need a scanner, my HP multifunction printer would be banished from my home. I highly recommend the Brother HL-2270DW for any home, home office or small office.
on September 13, 2012
After going through another $56 set of inks on my inkjet printer, I decided enough is enough. I don't need to print documents in color and I no longer print photos at home because Costco and Walmart are cheap and easy (and better). This Brother laser printer was my solution.
I give the printer high marks: the print quality can be set at three different levels and the two highest levels are superb. Also it duplex prints (both sides) and does a good job at that. Printing envelopes via the 'straight-through' path is easy and has made my label machine less useful.
As with so many tech units, it's the setup that is the hassle. I am a Mac person. Sure, I've used PCs at work and when I have to but I much prefer the Mac OS. The first indication that there was trouble was when the included setup disk refused to install the printer drivers because they were outdated. There was no link to update, no advice, nothing. So I went to the Brother site and after digging around through their horrible UI, I found the necessary updated drivers, downloaded and installed them. But that was only the start of the hassle.
The user manual is horribly confusing, to say the least, when it comes to setting up the wireless networking (at least to me). I suggest you ignore everything in the manual regarding networking. Let me give you Mac users some hints so you can avoid the wasted time and frustration I experienced:
[Update: June 2015: Apple's OS X now includes printer drivers for most manufacturers, so step 1 may not be necessary. If the setup prompts you for a driver, Google the printer model number and you should find it quickly. Note: After nearly 3 years, I continue to receive personal thanks for this review. I'm grateful I could help so many people].
1. After you've unpacked the printer, installed the toner and paper and printed a test page, go to the Apple web site and search for Brother printer drivers. Apple has all the latest drivers for download free.
2. Download and install the drivers.
3. Insert the CD that came with the printer and open the 'Utilities' folder. Do NOT use the 'Start Here OSX' icon.
4. In the Utilities folder, click on 'Wireless Device Setup Wizard.'
5. In the next window, Setting Up Wireless, click 'NO' then 'Next.'
6. In the next window, click 'checked and confirmed' then 'Next' (you don't need to read the stuff in that box).
7. In the next window, make sure 'Temporarily use USB cable' is selected, then click 'Next.'
8. Connect a USB cable from your computer to the printer.
9. In the next window, you will see the setup software searching for wireless signals in your area. Make sure your network is visible, then select it.
10. In the next window, input your router's wireless access password twice as requested. (Note: if you have an Apple Airport, do not enter the Airport PW, but your wireless access PW. If they are the same, no worries.)
11. Unplug the USB cable to the printer.
12. Click through to 'finish' and you are done!
[Update Aug 2014}
Many have commented that to make their printer work, they took an additional step. Here it is:
13. Be certain the printer is ON. Go to System Prefs>Printers & Scanners. If you see a Brother printer in the pane, it is likely the wired version setup placed there automatically during the setup process. Delete it. Then hit the '+' button and add the wireless version setup your computer will find. Should you ever want to revert to a wired setup, you must go through this step again with the printer connected via USB cable.
Your Brother is now set up to print wirelessly and you can put it anywhere you like.
If Brother would make the setup 'Apple' easy I would give this printer 5 stars. It's a 5-star printer, but a zero-star setup experience.
on November 15, 2010
This is a nice, compact laser printer with good build quality.
Wireless was essential for me - I've been waiting quite a while for a wireless laser that had reliably great reviews. I unpacked the box, removed the plastic strips, scanned the quick start guide, plugged the printer in, and everything was great so far. I then downloaded the newest drivers from the Brother website (drivers on included CD's are usually 3-12 month old) for my Windows 7 x64 and Windows 7 x32 laptops; executing the driver programs walks you through setup. In the past for wireless products, I've found you usually have to first set them up on a wired (Ethernet or USB) connection, then change things over to wireless. I decided to test the technological development level and go straight to wireless setup, starting with the 64-bit machine. This consisted of inserting the tip of a pen [you could also use a paperclip, etc] into the wireless setup button hole, telling the printer to start looking for a router; then I ran downstairs, pushed/held the WPS button on my wireless router, telling it to start looking for another device - in one minute they met, and fell in love. That was it. The driver installation software (on the wireless 64-bit laptop) detected they had a successful partnership and moved on to the final screens. Windows 7 had installed the printer with all of the advanced menus and controls. I then installed the driver on the 32-bit laptop and it auto-detected the successful partnership without touching any hardware - very simple install and wireless printing was ready to go.
I never bit with the wireless inkjet offerings, as the long term operating costs of inkjets are crazy. I've been refilling the toner cartridges on laser printers for years, running them for so cheap it's amazing. If this unit just had laser printing and reliable wireless it would be a fantastic deal. However, it has many features which are totally surprising. This review is already too long so I'll just say that the auto duplexing is great. What is even cooler is the Booklet feature. I'm holding in my hand a 20-page PDF that I selected "Booklet" in the options while printing. It printed on both sides of the paper, reduced the pages to half-sheets, arranged the pages in the precise/complicated order, and output tiny stack of FIVE sheets (from 20). I folded the stack in half and viola - a perfect booklet that is more convenient to travel with and uses one-quarter of the paper! I'm not sure you can know how cool this is until you actually have a booklet in your hand - so buy this machine now and see for yourself.
One final caution, the supplier I normally order bulk toner from does not yet have the formulation for this printer. I'm sure they will in time, but for now you might actually have to buy the TN450 replacement cartridge which runs at roughly 2.2 cents per page, once the 700-page starter cartridge is exhausted.
I've only had this printer for a few days, so hopefully it lives up to my current expectations and retains its 5-star rating. To be honest, these things are going for less than a hundred (on sale + coupon, at office supply stores) and at that price point just straight laser printing with wireless is a great deal.
on April 24, 2012
Bought this Brother HL-2270DW less than 30 days ago. Within 2 days I replaced the starter cartridge with a new TN-420 thinking I would hold the starter cartridge in reserve. In less than 2 or 3 hundred pages the toner light started flashing and the printer refused to print. I did not believe that the cartridge could possibly be out of toner, so I searched the web and found the following instructions to reset the out of toner condition:
- Open the front cover and leave open while completing the following steps.
- Turn the printer off.
- Hold the 'go' button (or "start' button) while turning the printer on. All panel lights should be on.
- Release the 'go' button (or "start' button).
- Press the 'go' button (or "start' button) 2 times.
- Pause. All panel lights should be on.
- Press the 'go' button (or "start' button) 5 times.(I have been told to press 6 times for the TN-450 cartridge.)
The toner light should be off. (error may be flashing)
The paper light should be on or flashing.
- Close cover. The ready light should be the only light on.
The printer functioned fine after the reset. I have no idea how long the "fix" will last.
A pox on companies that build devices like this.
ONE YEAR LATER April 16, 2013
So I have had this printer for one year now and I must say, that except for the above problem, it has functioned flawlessly. In retrospect it has proved to be very cost effective and efficient.
ALMOST TWO YEARS LATER February 9, 2014
Many readers have suggested that I should reconsider the one star review.
I appreciate their point, especially as I am coming up on two years of ownership and the printer is still performing well. (Subject to an occasional reset.)
But I just can't get passed what I take to be intentional misinformation by Brother to their customers causing them to buy unneeded toner. That just seems dishonest to me. But I will say this, if I were in the market for a similar printer I believe that the HL-2270DW would be a good choice as long as one knew about the bogus out of toner problem.
I have received feedback from many people who have saved a lot of money by extending the life of their toner cartridges. For that reason more than any other I believe I will let the review stand.
ADDENDUM April 9, 2014
Yesterday the printer decided that I should replace the drum. The drum light would flash and any attempt to print resulted in an error. The last prints looked excellent so I was not about to replace a good drum. I tried a drum reset but it did not work so I did a Brother HL-2270dw - Factory reset and now all is fine.
This is how I did it:
1. Turn off the printer.
2. Hold the GO button while you turn the printer on. Hold the button until all the LEDs light up and the Ready LED light turns off.
3. Release GO, all the LEDs will turn off.
4. Press GO ten times. The printer will now restart.
ADDENDUM July 3, 2014
I recently bought another HL-2270DW. It is a great printer as long as you know the caveats discussed above.
on January 15, 2015
This wireless printer has a known, unresolved issue. The issue has something to do with a dynamic IP address that periodically forces the printer offline. The simple solution was to uninstall and start over from scratch. Every month or so I would play that game much to my annoyance. The month my mother died from a lightning-fast lung cancer, I did not have the patience to fight with my printer. I needed to print out copies of her death certificate and begin the process of closing out her affairs. The printer was offline. I called customer service. After a lengthy hold and close to an hour of fruitless tech support, the technician sent me to grab my USB cable downstairs. When I returned a minute later with the cable, the technician had hung up on me. I proceeded to rip the power cord out from my printer, carry the thing to my front walkway, and smash it into a thousand bits. O Brother, where art thou?
on September 23, 2012
So far it's a great little printer for a great little price! We bought this because we already have an ink jet all-in-one multi-function printer that has like all who came here before her quit printing after very few months of service. We don't really need a color printer. And, we wanted a printer that would be compatible with our iPad/iPhones. We've only been using it a few days, so how long it prints remains to be seen, but the other reviews lead me to believe switching to a laser printer and this model will serve us well for a while. Even if it only works for a year we will have not flushed nearly the amount of cash on it. That said, if it dies within a short time, I may update this review.
Although I did a good bit of comparison shopping and read lots of reviews, initially we thought we had ordered the wrong printer for our needs. The wireless set-up was a breeze. Brother's website directed us to download "Brother iPrint&Label" app to use our iPad/iPhones. It didn't work. We also found an app, "Brother iPrint&Scan" which also didn't work. After further research on Brother's web site we found that this printer was not suppose to be compatible with iPad/iPhone iOS. I went back to read the information on Amazon.com and it appeared we needed to move up to a more expensive model. But the comparison chart showed this printer worked with "Cortado Workplace". A quick check in the App Store and we located the free app. Cortado is a free App and you sign up for an account which gives you 2 GB of free cloud storage. It works great!
I read reviews all the time when purchasing new items and find them often very helpful, but confess that I don't very often write one. Because we almost spent the money to ship this one back and then more to buy a more expensive printer, I felt adding our experience might save others a lot of headache and money. Hopefully it will.
on December 13, 2010
I rarely use a printer and because of that, every time I went to use my ink jets, they would be clogged. I tried cleaning them with limited success but usually, I had to throw them out and buy new ones. I recently went to purchase new color and black ink cartridges at a local Staples and after expressing my frustration at the constant failure of ink jets, the guy recommended I get a black and white laser printer if I didn't really care about color. I had no idea they had come down in price so much (they were in the thousands back when I paid any attention to them).
Anyhow, SO happy with this printer. It works every single time I turn it on to use it. I live in a very dry climate now so no more worrying about ink drying up - it uses dry toner. It prints double-sided and it also has built in wireless so I don't even have any cables running to it from my computers. I couldn't be happier with this thing, especially for the price. One thing to note, however, is that the toner cartridges are a little more expensive than ink jet but on the plus side of that, Brother claims an average of 1200 pages from that, which is much more than you would ever get out of a black ink cartridge.
on January 26, 2013
There are tons of negative reviews about his printer, and the tricky wifi set-up. And they are all true, but the solution is so damn easy I almost cried once I found it out. First, let me say that I am rating this printer 5 stars due to print quality and build quality. But I will also confess to having gone through a day of trial and error and subsequent temper tantrums trying to make the damn thing print wirelessly! I was ready to give it a one star review and join the ranks of the upset and the displeased.
Then I hit the user forums at Apple.com and some genius had found the answer to my dilemma. I will share it here.
Using the directions in the box, set it up with a USB cable. The literature is straightforward. You will probably have to download the updated Wizard from the Brother website, but no big deal there. Download it and run it in accordance with the guide from the box.
After you have 'paired' your printer with your wifi network the wizard will tell you to disconnect your USB cable. And your damn printer won't print wirelessly, even though you followed the directions perfectly. I did. FIVE TIMES. And it still wouldn't print.
Take a deep breath. Open "Print & Scan" preferences on your Mac. You'll see the Brother listed there as an available printer. Delete it, and then add it again. See, MAC OS only recognizes it as being connected via USB until you add it again, at which point MAC OS now recognizes it as a wireless printer on your network. I just about cried when my first page printed over the air. My dog looked at me like I was an idiot. Maybe I am, but I am also a happy camper printing wirelessly from across the room!
13 inch MacBook Pro running MAC OS X 10.7.5
ps. Read my book, available for kindle: "In Garrison"
on November 2, 2010
I dumped my one year old HP 8000 wireless inkjet when it became obvious it was going to cost me two hundred dollars a year for even minimum use. You can read my review on that pig's product page for more details.
As with most users I have no expertise in wireless. Every time I add a device, it's plug-and-pray time. My network is run through an old Asus router which supports only WEP and WPA, not WPS. I don't know exactly what that means, other than that WPS apparently is a new standard which improves the installation process. My home network has slowly grown to inlude a W7 desktop, a Vista laptop, two other XP desktops (I never throw away old computers), one wireless adapter for my TV and bluray player, and one wireless printer.
I have to say that this Brother printer was the easiest installation experience I have ever had with any piece of wireless hardware. For once, a manufacturer went to obvious effort to make certain the manual was clear and coherent. Every step on every page is exactly representative of what was shown on the screen [Update: Mac users, see Rich Hayhurst's comment (below)]. Every paragraph is bulleted so that if you are directed to skip a step based on your particular configuration there is no confusion as to where to proceed.
The net result is that, though I could not use what is billed as the one-button WPS setup and had to input the SSID and network key manually (I'm glad I wrote those down a couple years ago when I first set up the router), the Brother printer was recognized and up and running on all three active computers in less than twenty minutes, total. All for little more effort than inserting the installation disk in each drive.
The print quality is excellent, the automatic duplex functions flawlessly, the machine is fast, quiet and has a very small footprint. I am hoping its economy and durability live up to the rest of my initial experience with this great little printer.
p.s.: Anybody want to buy a wireless inkjet, cheap?
Update 12/2/10 -- I do notice the paper curling (due to heat, I'm sure) some other reviewers have described. It's possible a heavier weight paper would lessen this but I haven't had a chance to experiment, yet. This curling might be an issue for business users who are concerned about quality of presentation in printed correspondence. It's perfectly acceptable for my general personal uses.
One minor tip: If you get this printer, keep in mind the paper feed in this unit is towards the front of the tray. I'm accustomed to the top of the sheet feeding towards the rear of the tray. I was printing adhesive labels and having alignment problems until I realized this difference.
on January 22, 2011
My wife and I finally got tired of replacing high-priced ink cartridges in our ink jet printer. The 26ml pigment black cartridges are about $15 each adding up to over $570 per liter. (We still have it and love it, a Canon MP 610, when we want to print in color). Before I retired, I used a Brother laser printer daily at my last employer. It always worked perfectly. Based on that experience I didn't hesitate to buy the HL-2270DW which also duplexes, prints both sides of the sheet. We've had it for a month, using it daily to print info from the internet and print out documents we generate. It has never made a mistake. It comes with a Quick Setup Guide for both Windows and Macintosh and an Installation CD-ROM. You can download an instruction manual from their website if you need one. You also need to provide a USB 2.0 cable (Type A/B) if you don't use the wireless feature. Set up only took a few minutes. One of the previous reviewers commented on paper jams. I worked most of my career in commercial print shops and 8 years selling paper to printers. After opening a ream of paper you need to fan the sheets apart to break the surface tension between them before loading the paper tray. That ream of paper was tightly wrapped at the mill, put into a carton and stacked onto a pallet that weighs 2,000 lbs. The individual sheets are stuck together and have no air between them. That is the biggest cause of paper jams in copiers and printers. Also, the cheapest paper will have more dust particles that can stick to the drum and paper path in a laser printer or copier causing more printer problems. I recommend buying paper that's at least one level up from the bottom. I'm very pleased with my new printer and recommend it for a home or an office.