Be sure to read the update at the end! Important Firmware Update Available.
The HP LaserJet Pro 200 is pretty much the market competitor to the Brother MFC-9130CW. I have experience with both and I hope this comparison review will be helpful.
For those who just want the bottom line: both are capable small workgroup printers. You get faster printing and more capability with the Brother MFC-9130CW and based just toner price-per-page using brand-name toner the Brother is a lot less expensive over the long run.
The HP software package with the HP is typically bloated but less so than in older models. The Brother software package smaller and lighter.
One I find particularly annoying is the incessant nag window to validate your toner cartridges. I hate checking in with some central site whenever I change toner or inkjet ink so I don't want to do it. It did not accept my "decline" choice and kept coming back.
Both printers have similar specifications: single sided printing and scanning, wireless connectivity, Apple airprint support (works great), proprietary mobile connections, Automatic document feeder (35 pages), and print from/scan to USB. A 30,000 page duty cycle is the same for both. Both have nice color touch screens. Both are capable personal or small office multifunction units.
An important difference between is the HP LaserJet Pro 200 has a LAN port for hardwired connectivity. The Brother MFC-9130CW does not, but the generally more capable Brother MFC-9330CDW does along with duplex printing.
But in specs Brother wins in most ways: 19ppm compared to 14ppm for the HP. Paper capacity of the brother is 250 pages compared to 150 for the HP, and print resolution is higher for the Brother MFC-9130CW.
The big difference in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the cost of toner. This both with the included toner cartridges and replacements. The HP comes with "demi-toner cartridges" with a capacity of 700 pages. The Brother comes with "starter" toner cartridges with a capacity of 1000 pages - 42% more included with the Brother.
Note: I had originally reported the Brother came with full standard cartridges. This was true for one a client purchased just after the MFC-9130CW introduction. Thanks to kdaj for bringing this to my attention.
A full set of standard toner cartridges is around $300 for the HP. High capacity cartridges for the Brother (2500 pages black and 2200 pages color) cost same, that's an effective purchase price differentiator of at least $150 in favor of the Brother!
HP color toners (just one size) have a yield of 1800 pages. HP has a expanded black toner cartridge available with a 2400 page yield, Brother color toners are 1400 pages standard, high yield is 2200; just one size black toner with a 2500 page yield.
In favor of the HP the output on the Brother holds 100 sheets compared to 125 on the HP. The non-expandable memory on the Brother is 192MB and 256MB on the HP.
I setup the HP with a wired connection and it was instantly recognized on the network. The Brother's I've setup are the same. Wireless setup for both are comparable.
The HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP M276nw comes with a pretty typical HP software suite. It installs a large amount of software which isn't as large as I have seen in the past. The install was relatively quick for HP MFC's. The Brother software suite is a lot lighter and a very easy install too. Both provide printer monitoring and a good level of control. Both drivers updated the firewall for accessing the printer.
Another area of differentiation is in scanning. The ADF works well and automatic scanning of documents is reasonably fast and the quality is fine. HP used to set a standard for fine control in scanning. That is sorely lacking from the included software which seems to have only brightness, contrast and cropping. No gamma or other controls which HP used to provide. HP has really "dumbed-down" the scanning interface to the point where most control is lost.
This isn't an issue of most documents, but shows most in scanning photos (I mean real photographic prints from the days of film). Some photos look fine (generally glossy photos) but matte finish photos seem to come out with high contrast and loss of dark detail with default scanning settings. Trying to adjust the contrast, brightness and cropping does not result in improvements. The same photo on a Canon Lide scans worlds better!! An iPhone photo of the photo is worlds better!! I can only hope HP will read this and fix this issue.
That said, its focus is in scanning documents and in that I have no complaint.
I think it's pretty clear that the HP is generally a capable multifunction device but, the Brother competitor the MFC-9130 is a better value. Even more so if you plan to do a lot of printing the Brother is a big winner right out of the box since it comes with full toner cartridges.
In real world use the HP LaserJet Pro 200 is close to as good as the Brother, but the Brother is as better value. The HP costs less to purchase but the aforementioned included demi-toners makes it less of a bargain. When toner capacity vs. cost is considered the total cost of ownership is in far favor of the Brother and only gets more you print. This is based on brand-name toner cartridge pricing.
Print quality for both is very close. Scanning the same. Both are easy to use from the console.
The bottom line is that while capable the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP M276nw has significantly worse value and TCO than the Brother MFC-9130CW. In my experience both the HP and Brother should have similar useful lives. Maybe a little longer for the Brother.
Because it's a fine multifunction but less economical than its Brother competitor (MFC-9130CW) I'm only giving it 4 stars. If you have a strong preference for HP printers you might want to consider it 5 stars but take a look at the Brother MFC-9130CW before making up your mind.
UPDATE: Sept 24, 2014
We have run into an issue with the Laserjet Pro 200. We have come to the conclusion that the printer will sometimes not wake from sleep without being shut down and turned back on. This is true whether trying to print through the wired LAN or wake up the device from the touch screen. The unit remains unresponsive until either the power plug is pulled or the power button is "long pressed" (more than about 10s) to power it off.
We installed the latest firmware (as of late last week) and it seems to make not difference. The HP support forums have multiple people reporting the same issue and the consistent advise from HP was to assign a static address to the printer instead of using DHCP. We had a fixed DHCP reservation setup, but we setup the printer to have a manually configured address in the printer settings. No change. The problem still happens.
While this is annoying it happens infrequently enough and the workaround is simple enough we will live with it a while. For a multi-user office this issue could be a deal-breaker. Until this issue is fixed I'm dropping the rating on this printer to 3 stars.
Update: Feb 15, 2015
HP released updated firmware to address the issue where the Laserjet Pro 200 will not wake from sleep mode for network printing. This is great news as it addresses what has become a MAJOR annoyance over the past months. There is also an important security fix with the OpenSSL library.
Here is the lists of fixes/changes in this firmware I found on the HP web site.
* Fixed a vulnerability issue (CVE-2014-0224) in OpenSSL versions 1.0.1e.
* Updated WIFI binary codes regarding to the power consumption efficiency.
* Fixed a 79 error when printing certain documents.
* Eliminated Smart Install feature.
* Fixed an issue where secondary DNS entries may not properly match the address returned by DHCP Server.
* Resolved a fax quality issue when Fax Resolution is set to "Photo".
* Fixed an issue where the printer would incorrectly respond to a switch sending out router advertisements for a VLAN.
* Fixed an issue where network connecting printer might not wake from sleep mode.
* Fixed an issue where the "Black and White" printout of a JPEG image might be inverted
Because this issue is now resolved I'm bumping my rating back to 4 stars!
Hope this helps someone.
on February 12, 2013
First, some background: for years, I have used HP black and white laserjet printers. They are work horses! The 4L I used a decade ago is still going strong, just really slow. (A friend makes use of it now). From there, we wanted the ability to duplex print, and went with a 1320nw. The wireless networking was a pain to set up with that one, but it has worked like a champ since that initial set up. My husband is a videographer part time, and makes professional quality HD videos for events, which he burns to DVD and designs full color covers for. For this, he has always used an inkjet printer. Popular opinion has been that color laser printers just couldn't compete for glossy photo quality printing, and he is very particular about his work looking professional. Unfortunately, the inkjet has been expensive (he can get maybe 15 full color covers out of each set of cartridges), and then recently, he began experiencing color inconsistencies. One cover would have different coloration than the exact same cover printed days later. Changing to new ink cartridges did not fix the issue, and we decided it was time to take a hard look at color laser printers. I carefully read reviews, and found that people liked the quality of prints from this model. The general consensus seemed to be that people were pleasantly surprised by the photo printing capabilities, with the caveat that for truly professional looking photos, have them printed by a pro place.
We figured that was probably good enough for our purposes, but we wanted to check it out in person first. We went and looked at the printer for ourselves at a local box store, and used it to copy a full color ad. We were completely impressed with the color and image quality, even on regular copy paper. The speed, while slightly slow compared to true commercial machines, was still plenty fast enough for us (a LOT faster than the inkjet we had been using). We bought the printer at a great price - another bonus, color laser printers are now not all that much more than a new inkjet. After we got it home, we set it up on our network in just a few moments. We are a MAC household, and downloaded the software from HP's website with no issues.
A note: if you're going to print on glossy paper for photos, MAKE SURE you get paper specifically for laser printers, not inkjet. The coating on the inkjet paper does not work with laser printers, and you risk doing your printer harm. We bought glossy "brochure paper" for laser printers that works great.
This printer comes pre-loaded with "trial" size toner cartridges, good for 700 pages of printing. The regular full size cartridges will be good for almost 2000 pages. Now, as color intensive as the DVD covers we print are, I imagine that 700 number will turn out to be a lot less. However, even if it is only 100-200 copies, it will be much, much cheaper than the inkjet was to produce our covers. The first thing we did was print up several of our covers after hooking up the printer. They printed quickly, flawlessly, and with color absolutely true to the colors we saw on our computer screen, something that was honestly a new experience for us. The picture quality is as good as our admittedly 4 year old inkjet, perhaps better since we never experience the occasional streaky lines on the laser. My husband went through and reprinted covers for every DVD currently in his library of work, some 15 different pages. All of them printed perfectly. We then used the copier on several of them to compare the quality of the "copies" with the original print. They were indistinguishable to us. The scanner was next. It took a little figuring out that we needed to de-select the option that has it search for individual parts in order to get a full page scan, but it worked fine, something our old all-in-one never did. The fax is something we won't ever use, since it requires a land line, and we don't have one. But the scanner means we can just scan and e-mail documents anyway, so the fax is superfluous.
We are completely happy with our new color laserjet, and if it holds up as well as the black and white versions we've had, I expect we'll still be using it several years from now. The only thing that may eventually force an upgrade will be speed, but honestly, it's plenty fast for us right now. I couldn't recommend this printer more for the price.
UPDATE: It has been a month and a half, and we are still just as pleased with our purchase. The only thing missing is native duplex printing, which we already have in our black & white laserjet, so it's really not a huge issue for us. Most duplex jobs are black and white for our needs. But the reason I wanted to write this update: we are still using the trial size cartridges. We have printed perhaps 50 full color covers (and some random other stuff, not as intensive), and only the black cartridge has dropped to 30% ink capacity. The color cartridges are at 50-60% still. Given this, I think it is likely that we'll get another 25 or so out of these trial version before we have to go with the full size cartridges. This is a savings of something like 4 times over what our old inkjet did. When we get the full size cartridges, our numbers will easily double.
UPDATE #2: WARNING: use only actual HP toner cartridges with this printer! We tried to save a few bucks by going with a generic brand that was supposed to be compatible. The new ink ruined our printer. I don't know if it was just a bad batch, bad luck or whatever. But a $3-400 printer is not worth ruining over $40 in ink. We ended up buying a new printer, and the genuine HP cartridges work great.
on April 23, 2013
We bought this a couple of weeks ago for our home-based business. We print frequently - mostly short documents (invoices, certificates, etc.). We also occasionally print photos, maps, etc. We use the scanner/copier functions frequently to copy IDs and other documents. We have used HP Laserjets since the late 1980s (Paid around $1,450 back then for our first Laserjet printer). We've had several over the years, and they've always given many years of service, with few problems and low operating cost. We'd still be using our last one (about 12 years old), but our new computer lacks a parallel port.
We bought a Lexmark inkjet MFP about 3 years ago for scanning, color, two-sided printing, and to get two paper trays (needed to switch between white and colored paper frequently at that time). Black ink for it is $4.95 for an XL cartridge, so cost of consumables was very low (though color ink is more). However, we had a number of problems with it (first one didn't work, replacement eventually broke a hinge, required a large bottom margin - some documents got cut off, computer frequently lost its connection to the printer using either a network or USB connection and required rebooting the PC, etc.).
Anyway, we got tired of the issues (especially sometimes having to reboot the computer just to print an invoice for a client) and decided to try another HP Laserjet - this LaserJet Pro 200 Color MFP. We've had it a couple of weeks, and we are very happy with it so far. It has never lost its connection to our desktop PC (USB connection). The wireless setup was a little complicated to set up, but once configured (with the help of HP Tech support), it works great from our laptop. I was worried about the somewhat slower rated print speed, but it starts printing quickly and seems plenty fast for our typical 1-2 page documents. Maybe it would be an issue if we printed a lot of 30-page documents - I don't know. While our ink-jet was rated to be pretty fast, in reality, it didn't seem to get that first page done nearly as fast as this HP. It is great to be back to fast, trouble-free laser printing again.
The color is also nice. It does a much better job on photos than I expected - even on plain paper. I want to get some glossy photo paper for lasers (I understand that paper for inkjets will cause problems in laser printers and should not be used). I'm sure a dedicated inkjet photo printer would do better. I've purchased two expensive ($400-$600) photo printers over the years (an Epson and an HP) and both failed after very little use. I wanted to be able to ocassionally produce a high quality photo print. It seems like these inkjets have problems if they aren't used frequently. I think the last one had seven different colors of ink cartridges - and they would go bad after a month or two. I'm giving up on top-quality home photo printing for now and will use a service if I want a frameable print. But that said, if you aren't too picky, the prints from this HP laser look good - on better paper, I doubt most people would have much issue with the quality even for framing. And for printing a quick photo it is fine.
The scanner/copier also seems fine to me - I get a much better copies of photo IDs with this than I did from my Lexmark inkjet. And it prints whatever is on the page (no cutting off an edge). It would be nice if it did automatic duplexing, but the manual duplexing function is okay for my purposes (I printed a bunch of two-sided forms, and it made doing so very easy - the printer walks you through doing it - no guessing about which way is up, etc.). If duplex printing is only an occasional need for you (as it is with us), this will be fine. Also, the touch-screen seems quite a bit more responsive than the one on our Lexmark printer.
We are still on the original "starter" toner cartridges, and they have plenty left, so it looks like its going to be fairly economical to use (but that's just a guess at this point). It is annoying that they don't just give you full cartridges to start with - I'm sure 90% of the cost is in the mechanism - it couldn't cost much more to just fill the thing up. But all the manufacturers seem to do this.
Well, I didn't mean to write so much (I rarely remember to write reviews), but we are so happy with this HP that I wanted to say so. I'm giving it 5 stars because I have no complaints so far with what it does. It would be nice if it had auto duplexing - but I wouldn't want that if the trade-off were larger size or lower quality printing. It would also be nice if it had a straight-through path for printing on heavy paper, etc. - but that is another feature we very rarely need. I think it merits 5 stars because there were no UNEXPECTED negatives - I knew going it it lacked these features. The print quality and overall functionality are excellent.
June 8, 2013 Update: We are still very happy with this multifunction printer. We are still running on the original "starter" toner cartridges after about two months - I'm surprised they have lasted so long (especially the black). We print daily, and occasional long documents/multiple copies. The black toner has been saying it was "very low" for a couple of weeks, but no issues with the print quality yet. This unit continues to be very trouble-free compared with our previous inkjet - very easy to use and reliable, and I have no issues with the print quality.
on November 7, 2012
I wanted a wireless color laser printer with a sheet feeder and scanner. It was very easy to setup and it scan's to my network share flawlessly. The apps are pretty impressive too - albeit not something I use very often. Size was important to me too. Its big, but for a color laser multi-function, its actually small.
on September 27, 2013
I use this printer for home office and personal use. The color is good, the wireless was relatively easy to set up and the support for Apple's AirPrint has been great. It's been nice to print directly from my phone or iPad when necessary.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems. It's big and slow and noisy. But more importantly, large color files cause a low memory error--and the printer comes standard with the maximum memory it supports. There are some PDF documents where the printer cannot output even a single page. If you're prepared to head over to Kinko's every now and then when this printer can't print your color document, then this printer will be fine.
on December 19, 2012
I am able to print on this but I don't know if it is happening wirelessly or through the network. I can't scan to a network folder and the computer cannot connect to it for scan to network but can connect to make other changes. I can scan to a USB drive which goes into the front of the printer and then insert that in my laptop. I have Windows XP and a years old Apple Airport router. If you have a new router and new computer you might have no problem or if you are persistent and knowledgable you might figure it out. I was satisfied to be able to print and scan to a USB drive so I didn't make much effort to connect to the network and didn't try HP support. I did the initial setup with a USB cable from the laptop to the printer and never used the CDs than came with it. The output is crisp and photos look good. There are markings in the feeder tray to show how to insert an envelope. The printer comes with trial cartridges that hold less than the regular cartridges. When they run dry you need to buy new cartridges at $80 each x 4 for HP cartridges or about $30 each x 4 for compatible. I have no idea how good the compatible cartridges are. You can set the toner level to be notified at when they are low. Default is 30% for black and 16% for color so you still have a lot of toner left when you get your first warning it you don't reset it. It has a flatbed scanner and a sheet feeder. Remember proper lifting techniques when you pick it up to put it on a desk or table. When a color cartridge gets low it starts printing in monochrome even though you may be able to use the color cartridge for hundreds of pages more. You can go into the setup menu to keep it printing in color until quality deteriorates to the point that you want to change the cartridge.
on February 4, 2013
Although I did not purchase this printer from Amazon (was able to acquire it from a national package store for much less), I do place a large amount of purchases from Amazon of which I have been very pleased with. Because this is where I "shop", I feel compelled to warn shoppers of the problems with this product. The printer itself appears fine and well constructed. My expectations of the M276nw as with most multi-function printers is that it will do everything well, but not excellent. This proved to be the case upon powering up the unit and testing output, copying, etc.. All these functions were performed without the unit being attached to my PC and network as per the startup instructions. Here's however where things turned badly.
Some brief background, I'm not a casual user, having 30+ years in programming, networks and large scale ERP implementations, meaning I certainly don't know everything about computers, software, but enough to know when something is not right. HP uses an installation program to install drivers and programs that allow your computer to interface with it as well as defining the communications method to be used. This installation program does not work. At 80% complete, it returns an red circled X and the work ERROR. Following that it instructs you to restart your computer, and reinstall the installation program. This is the source of my agnst, as I've attempted this numerous times throughout the entire weekend. I've also communicated online with HP technical support, where they had me go through the exact same steps multiple times without success, and they too are stumped. I even set up Win XP Pro on a test PC I have and it failed on that as well.
Granted, everyone's PC has "gremlins" and it is difficult for companies to create installation programs to accomodate all situations and I clearly understand this. But I belive I have a relatively clean Win 7 Home Premium intall, fully up to date with Windows updates. The prior HP printer (C7250) worked fine until the ink motor died. I'm truly perplexed as to why this install program will not work and the total lack of information it provides as to what the problem actually is (I even attempted to find errors in the System Log via Event Viewer to no avail). I've spent way too much time on this problem (as has HP technical support) without a solution and so this printer is being returned today to the store where purchased.
Although most of the reviews posted favorable results from customers, there are some that detailed installation program issues similar to mine. You should be aware of this if you are planning on purchasing this printer. This printer has a good mix of functionality, the price point is excellent and looked like a winner. Unfortunately the installation software failed and even HP cannot determine what the problem is. Based on that, it may work for you, or may not.
Edit and follow up post (see comment on this post by me). Finally got the printer to work, but did not change the star review I provided. Since then, I've used the printer extensively and have to give credit where credit is due! Even with a frustrating installation process (specific to my PC), I've re-reviewed this product and give it 4 stars! Excellent printing, scanning, and copying. Buy this printer if you can!
on September 22, 2014
Lies, lies, lies... This printer is listed as providing two-sided printing, which is known as duplex (sometimes auto-duplex). Well this is not true, you have to manually transfer the paper back into tray 1 for the second side to print. Well duh! If that is the case every damn pritner is capable of two-sided printing. My expectations of full auto-duplex, as a result of reading that this printer was capable of two-sided printing, were part of the reason I selected this multi-function printer over others I compared.
on October 30, 2013
I only purchase HP printers for my company... I have 6 at present. I upgraded to this unit wanting color, scanner and fax. It worked fine up until this past week, I get an error code of 49! I call HP no help, I request to return I was told it's SIX MONTHS OLD AND NO. I am hot as a hornet, I have purchased back up ink and now a unit that is a great paper weight. HP is not an easy company to deal with over the phone, they have offered NO solution to my problem. I wish I purchased it from Costco, because they have a NO questions policy and I can return it for the life of the unit and get cash back!!!
on November 3, 2014
We bought the Laserjet pro 200 a few weeks ago, and sadly I am not impressed. The color saturation is extremely poor when printing and copying. When copying printed documents, the ink saturation is weak at best. When copying documents that were hand written in blue ink, the blue print is spotty and faint.
If that was not bad enough, it does not print in custom size of 3x5inch. It is easy enough to set up, but obviously the print driver does not know how to interpret the command. I have tried printing from MS Excel, MS Word, and PS Elements 11 without success.