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on October 13, 2013
Great printer, but the toner life is based (as far as I can tell) solely on pages printed. So if you print x number of pages even with only a single dot of color on it, the printer will count that as a page printed in that color. My starter black toner quit after 250 pages.

Here is how to fix this - open the top of the printer, then simultaneously press the "Secure" and "X Cancel" buttons. This will put the printer into a special service mode. Use the + and - buttons to scroll to whichever toner you want to reset. Each color should have three options which, I believe, allow you to tell the machine what type of 'new' toner cartridge is installed. I think "Y.TNR-STR" is yellow cartridge standard, "Y.TNR-HC" is for the high yield yellow cartridge and "Y.TNR.STD" is for a standard yellow cartridge. Once you've selected the cartridge you want to tell it you're installing hit the "OK" button and will get an "OK reset cancel" type screen. Hit the up arrow to reset. Now you're back to printing in style!

Replace your toner cartridges need to be replaced, not when it tells you to.
2424 comments| 1,276 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 22, 2013
Was looking for an automatic duplex color laser printer for the fiancé who is in med school. Last year, she printed over 10,000 pages. It's important she has color so she can see the details of the anatomy or cardio diagrams she has to print out. She used to have a color Brother 3045CN but there was no auto duplex mode (sucks the paper back in and prints on the other side). She had to manually refeed the paper in to print on the other side and at times would make errors because she put in the wrong way. There goes 20 sheets of paper in the recycle bin. and I realized she needed a better printer.

This printer is amazing. Has great color and auto duplex works like it should. If you know how to setup a router to have wifi password, setting up the wifi on the printer shouldn't that difficult. When you first plug it in, (no need to plug it into a computer or anything), it'll ask you to setup WLAN. Press ok, find your wireless network name, press ok, put in password, press ok, done. Now all the macbooks, windows, iphones, and ipads in the house can print wirelessly.

My only complaint is the starter cartridges that came with it. Like how most printer companies make their money, this printer decided to stop working because the black toner was low. I checked printer status and it shows it printed 600 pages of black! That's it for a starter cartridge?! It refuses to print unless I change the cartridge! I searched online and figured out how to reset the cartridge making it think it has a new toner inside. What you need to do is lift up the top cover and leave it unhinged. Simultaneously press the Secure and the Cancel button at the same time (with top cover open). You will see option to choose which toner you want to reset. Select the one you want, press okay and press the + to confirm reset. Done. Now you can keep using what's left in the toner cartridge which in my case had at least 50% left.

As for refills, this is going to be a tad more difficult than typical Brother cartridges. You are going to need to drill a hole a size of a dime on the top of the cartridge and then pour the ink in. Use same tape to cover up the hole you make. No need for resets gears or any of that. Just do the same procedure as above to reset it and your good to go.

All in all, I'm happy with my purchase. If you print a lot and need decent color printing (not photo quality) and want to print wirelessly, this is the printer to get.

-=UPDATE 1/24/2015=-

Very sad to say but the printer bit the dust today after a little over a year of use. Printer count shows just 10,000 pages printed, but the printer started printing crinkly pages. I opened the back of the unit and the fuser (black and orange hot bars) were torn to bits. Did some research and it seems common with people who excessively print and never let the printer cool down. Was never aware of this. Just a warning for everyone!

-=UPDATE 2/7/2015=-
Called Brother up, they sent out a new empty (no ink or ink tank) refurbished printer out (within 2 days) and I shipped back the broken printer. Easy peasy and Brother paid for all shipping costs. Warranty is extended extra 30 days after my ORIGINAL 1 year warranty. Although the replacement printer is refurbished, I'm satisfied with Brother's customer service.
2424 comments| 901 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 8, 2014
Loved this printer while it worked. Unfortunately it either has a very serious engineering defect or it's built to fail. Read the other reviews. All the 5 star reviews will be back soon.

I used only OEM toner, had just replaced the starter black and was still on the original colors. The rubber paper grabbing rollers that touch the fusion roller disintegrated after less than 1200 prints, leaving pieces of rubber all over the fusion roller. Wrinkles and crumbles the paper, spit the remaining pieces of rubber throughout the printer, etc. Clearly the rubber used on the paper rollers use a non heat-resistant rubber or are a designed-to-fail part as it has happened to many (most?) of these printers sooner or later. When mine started exhibiting symptoms, I figured it wouldn't be an issue to get a replacement part since it's now a known defect and not anything that could even be taken to be user abuse. I contacted Brother and asked them to send me a replacement roller so I could replace myself, but upon learning I was only a few months out of my warranty (I bought it last summer), they told me to take a hike. $200 paperweight before getting through its original starter cartridges.

Avoid this printer if you need it for longer than a few months. And frankly, I'm very disappointed in Brother customer service. I had the small business I work for switch to using one model up from this one. Since it uses the same print engine, I suspect it may have the same defect.


On the 2nd try, Brother went ahead and replaced my unit. Said they're aware it's a manufacturer defect and they're replacing units when this pops up. All in all I would rate the experience positively if it hadn't been for the first rep who basically told me to take a hike. They need a more consistent decision making/training approach. But I do have a working printer now. Based on the 2nd rep really going out of his way to make it right, I'm improving my rating back up to 3 stars, because I do like my printer.
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on August 22, 2013
First of all, people keep calling this a laser printer. Its not- its an LED printer, which is newer tech. Like a laser printer, it melts toner onto the paper, but instead of a laser, it uses a page-wide array of LEDs, which allows the device to be more compact and cheaper to make. Given the longevity of LEDs and the fact that there are fewer moving parts, I'm hoping the printer will last a looong time.

Some reviewers complain about the higher cost of the ink, which in most cases are valid. Did a quick cost analysis using prices here on Amazon, looking at a variety of HP inks, Brother laser toner, and the toner available for this printer. HP ink was the most expensive, Brother laser the cheapest, with the black toner for the HL3170CDW hitting in the middle. The HL3170 color toner, alas, was about the same price per page as HP color ink, at about $.11 a page. BUT.....its toner. How many pages do you think you'll get out of an inkjet before it dries out on you? I bought this printer because I've suffered through years of inkjets that start getting flaky when the ink is only half empty. Don't even want to think about all the ink I wasted running the cleaning utility and such. Was ready to drop $400 on a laser, but I jumped on this when I saw it.

Print quality? Just fine, thank you. 600x600 dpi output standard, higher than my inkjet. The manual feed is finicky as other reviewers have mentioned, but works with a little finesse. Wireless was easy to set up.

To sum up: Great printer, glad I bought it. Loses a star for temperamental manual feed, and slightly more expensive toner.

Edit, 9/3/13: switched to verizon FIOS last week. As others have said, getting the wireless working again took some monkey business, but I didn't need to fiddle with any port forwarding. For some reason, the printer had a different IP address with the new router. Uninstalling the drivers and reinstalling the printer from scratch seemed to fix the issue for me.
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on June 4, 2015
I'm very disappointed in the print quality. Everything I printed seemed to print in lines. I've attached an image where you can see what I mean. The top "John Muir" is this brother printer and the bottom one is an HP laser color printer. You can see that the bottom HP name is much smoother and looks as it does on my computer screen. The second image attached shows the printed version on top and the computer screen below it. I don't know how to describe it other than like it is printing in lines and makes everything look pixelated.
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on May 15, 2013
I bought this model when it has 20% off sale (not Amazon sorry), so I was pleased with its quality and value. Two functions caught my attention when I chose this model, besides being a color printer, the duplex and the AirPrint.

Laser color printer will be useful for kids projects and commercial announcement that I was looking for a long time. I am tired of Samsung's high cost on toners and poor durability so anything buy Samsung will be good for me this time around.

So far so good: the Wi-Fi setup was easy without any intervention: all I need was to press the WPS button on my Cisco router and it is done. No password needed. The duplex works, but need good papers. The initial print time is not a concern for me at all: none of the 4 laser printer works fast on the initial page anyway.

The AirPrint works with iPhone and iPad, which solved my long struggle of frustration. I have to say to Apple though: silly ideas of lacking any control.

Though the initial toners are meant for "starter" the counter built in still show a regular toner capacity. Only time will tell what it is.

The down side for color laser is the cost of toners: you need to replace 4 toners and the waste pan and another something from time to time, which cost more than the printer itself. I already picked up spare toners at about $60 each on-line so the total cost for 5 years is $500. I can accept that.

Another point I need to point out is the weight: just heavy and bulky. But I am glad to finally find a spot for it.

Finally I have to say to Brother about their menu design: poorly designed and hard to master.
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on November 4, 2015
Don't be swayed by the positive reviews. TWO of the three Brother HL-3170CDW printers we purchased 8-10 months ago (and used only lightly) are useless because of defective rollers.
Our small office is on three floors, so we wanted two printers -- even though each prints less than 100 pages on average, per week. We bought a Brother HL-3170CDW printer in January 2015 (10 months ago) and liked it, so we bought another in February 2015. The second printer stopped working barely a month after purchase, but only when we tried to print double-sided: the roller would crumple the paper and jam (regardless of the paper quality we used). We gave that printer to a a friend who doesn't double-side, and -- because the first printer still worked well and we had dozens of expensive new cartridges -- we purchased another Brother HL-3170CDW printer. Big mistake. A month ago (after 6 months of light use -- under 100 pages per week), the new printer began to make a grinding noise and the roller began to disintegrate. Pieces of roller came off in flakes (see photos). TWO defective printers in one year? Oh, Brother. We will not be purchasing another.
In posting this review, I noticed a review by Luke (December 8, 2014) who wrote: "Rollers are defective and disintegrate. Brother is aware of the problem but won't do anything about it." Wish I'd seen that review before buying.
Brother HL-3170CDW Digital Color Printer with Wireless Networking and Duplex
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on March 10, 2015
As a techie, I did not have trouble setting up this printer, nor did I witness the "having to resetup wifi" issue that one of the 1-star posts mentioned.

Furthermore, the color printing is not as bad as people make it out to be; they make it seem like one can only print charts/graphs - nope.
True, it's not photo quality, but it's newspaper or even magazine photo quality - and for me that was good enough.
See attached picture of "Lenna" printed out using said printer at 600 dpi on standard letter paper - and then a ~3.5in x ~4in segment was zoomed into & snapped via iPhone.

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on May 24, 2013
Let me say first off that I am giving this 4 stars and not 5 only because I have only had the printer for one day; after I have used it for a while my opinion may change, so keep this caveat in mind.

When I bought this printer I had already checked to make sure Brother had a GNU/Linux driver (Brother seems to be pretty good about "unofficially" supporting Linux), so I was pretty sure it would work with my GNU/Linux system. I also liked the fact that it supports both wired and wireless networking, since I planeed to connect it to my wired network (but I also have wireless).

When I received the unit I unboxed and set-up per the Setup Guide. I connected it to my wired network (Note: you have to provide your own ethernet cable - which is what I expected). I went to Printers in Ubuntu and the system immediately found the printer on the network. I selected the printer and the system found a driver (on the Internet), downloaded it, and tried to install it, but the install failed. Disappointing. No matter - I downloaded and installed the the LPR and Cupswrapper drivers (in that order) from the Brother website, re-booted, and the printer was installed and working. The printer not only shows up under Printers, but also shows Ink/Toner levels and various options.

Printing is reasonably fast (pretty much as advertised), and the print quality is good. I'll be interested to see how long the toner lasts; I plan to refill the toner cartridges to reduce cost; without that option I would have thought twice about getting this as new cartridges cost as much or more than the printer.
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on July 20, 2015
Brother knows that black rubber coated fusing roller deteriorates and causes terribly wrinkled, unusable, printouts...just after the warranty runs out. The black rubber falls off to show orange underneath, which gets caught into some little gearing, i think. This printer was only used for very few printouts...less than 900 color and 1600 b/w, but I am a home user. Warranties should be based on 1 year of maximum monthly output stated for printer, like 12 x 20,000 = 240,000 pages! Toner costs are far too high. Also, the color gets streaky. Avoid at all costs. I noticed that there might be a replacement roller available for $20 out on the web, but not sure of how much labor time would be needed on top of that to do the job. I just bought a HP color laserjet pro m252dw to see how it works out for my needs.
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