Brother HL-10H printer. (laser printer) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Ralph Roberts
Brother International's new HL-10h ten-page-per-minute, 600 x 600 dpi LaserJet 4/PostScript-compatible laser printer offers a lot in a small-footprint package.
For one, the HL-10h comes network friendly with three types of interfaces: serial, high-speed bidirectional parallel, and an MIO (modular input/output) interface that ties into Novell, Ethernet, Token Ring, and other networks. Even if you don't need network capacity now, the HL-10h is ready when you do. The printer also senses and responds to changes in emulations, including LaserJet 4 and PostScript, and earlier modes like Epson FX-850, Diablo 630, and the IBM ProPrinter XL.
We tested the HL-10h by installing it to a 486SX-25 that's part of a Novell NetWare Lite network. We sent pages to the printer from a variety of Windows applications, both directly and from other computers on the network. The printer was fast and correctly sensed the emulation being sent. Applications printed flawlessly.
While the HL-10h's 600 dpi goes a long way in helping you achieve professional-looking documents by putting out near typeset quality pages, a lot of other powerful features assist you as well. An internal 20-MHz 32-bit microprocessor handles extensive graphics and text applications and automatically smooths out jagged edges on characters and figures, while an optimized Windows driver provides for greater throughput. Eighty-three resident fonts are included, as well as 256 shades of gray that make for near photographic output. Paper sizes include letter, legal, A4, B5, envelopes, transparencies, and laser label sheets. The adjustable paper drawer holds 250 sheets of paper.
One major performance difference between the HL-10h and older laser printers is in sharpness of text and graphics. Moving from 300 dpi to 600 dpi isn't a simple doubling of resolution as you might expect: This printer actually produces four times as many dots on a page. We printed a number of examples, pushing the printer up to 100 lpi, and got excellent results.
We printed a wide range of Type 1 and TrueType fonts on the HL-10h, and it handled all of them with aplomb. An installer program is included for adding scalable PCL5 fonts, and there's a slot on the printer for LaserJet 4 font cartridges.
We think you should plan on upgrading the HL-10h's memory from its standard 2MB to a higher value to take full advantage of the printer's 600-dpi resolution. While a full page of text is no problem at 600 dpi, more complicated pages, such as photographs, tend to bog down or not print entirely. You can add up to 32MB of RAM (for a total of 34MB) internally, using standard SIMM memory chips. Or, use the external PCMCIA slot to add a flash memory card. A total of about 6MB would be enough for most users.
The HL-10h's front control panel isn't as confusing as it can be on many laser printers, and its easy-to-read LED display scrolls through the various printer options. Documentation is a little better than what we've encountered for most printers.
The Brother HL-10h requires an IBM-compatible PC with a standard parallel printer port, serial interface, or Hewlett-Packard MIO-compatible interface. At a suggested retail price of $1,695, this sophisticated, powerful laser printer is equally appropriate for individuals, work groups, and networks. We would choose it over the LaserJet 4.