Most helpful critical review
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Not completely problem-free out of box and toner fixing problems.
on December 11, 2012
I've had a HL-5250DN since 2006, and it has been a great printer with hardly any problems and still going strong. Out of the box, the HL-5250DN was almost perfect in features and performance with less than 10 paper jams in the course of six years of use.
So I expected the same problem-free printer out of the box with the HL-6180DW, but there were a few snags.
First, I read another review saying this product does not dim the lights. Since the 5250DN did, I was hoping the 6180DW would be different. However, in my house, when the printer starts up, the lights in two rooms dim a bit. Apparently, this is enough to trip circuit breakers in some houses. My concern is how it affects other devices. With the 5250DN, one modem gave out in my house, but I can't tell for sure whether the 5250DN had anything to do with it. Still, I wish the lights wouldn't dim so harshly. I'd be willing to have the machine start up a bit more slowly in exchange for less dimming.
Second, I got the 6180DW over the 5470DW specifically for the super high yield 12,000 page TN780 toner option. I read one review saying that particular toner spews particles everywhere at around 7000 pages. Will be keeping my eye out on whether this is to be expected for the TN780. If there are problems with the TN780, this will cloud my 6180DW experience since the extra cost to get this printer over the 5470DW will no longer be justified.
Third, there is no simple way to switch from ethernet to wireless and vice versa. The printer actually has a software setting that allows switching from one mode to another, but it doesn't work. I currently have wireless, but if I want ethernet, I have to uninstall the driver and reinstall the driver by connecting via USB. This isn't a huge problem, but why not allow simple switching by a software setting, or even dual simultaneous mode since there is no hardware limitation on such settings?
Fourth, this is the reason why I returned the first 6180DW. Every once in a while, the printed paper would have specks and hollowed out areas. It turns out this is because not enough heat from the fuser was being applied to it to have the toner stick permanently to the paper, so the ink was smudging on the paper. Because I didn't have such problems with the HL-5250DN, I thought this was a defect with the HL-6180DW since the papers that worked just fine with the 5250DN should work with the newer model. Fortunately, after some research, there was a setting via the driver software that allows you to turn the heat setting higher so that the ink doesn't smudge. But it comes at a trade-off where the paper is more likely to curl. Likely, Brother wanted a setting that had less curling by default because of so many complaints of paper curling. However, the smudge was an issue on both typical 20lb and 22lb paper, so I find that the 6180DW's default setting is not optimal. I'd rather have the paper curl slightly than to have ink that easily smudges on the paper.
Those are the snags. With the smudging issue out of the way, I'm satisfied with the product considering its features and price. The envelope printing is much better than the 5250DN. The 500 paper tray capacity allows me to put a full ream of paper in there, and if the TN780 is decently priced and works well, then for about the price of the HL-5250DN when it first came out, I have a printer that has more features and requires less maintenance. I'm hoping that the negative review on the TN780 about toner ink spewing out is an isolated defect rather than some design defect either in the printer or the toner.
The printer still has some toner fixing issues. I hadn't been using the printer for a few weeks. When I started it back up, the first page had smudges on it, and when I scratch the ink with my fingernails, the ink smudges. I had already had it on "Improve Toner Fixing" setting, so it looks like in some situations, the HL-6180DW has an ink smudge problem that the HL-5250DN never had. For this reason, I need to downgrade the stars to 3. It seems like once the printer heats up and gets a few pages going, then the smudge problem disappears, but where it starts cold, it smudges unpredictably. Many people probably use this for their business, and in those situations where the printer gets used very frequently, you may never notice it.
I have already done one exchange for this product, so I've seen this problem occur on 2 separate HL-6180DW machines.