Brother HL-1470N

The HL-1470N walks the line between home printer and small-office printer

WHAT'S HOT: You get lots of connectivity alternatives. In particular, the HL-1470N has built-in ethernet as standard equipment, along with USB 1.1 and parallel ports--and even an old-time serial port. With its built-in ethernet port, the HL-1470N straddles the line between personal printer and office printer, but it's so simple to use that you shouldn't hesitate to use it at home. We also liked the HL-1470N's crisp output quality, with clean text and accurate, even narrow lines in our test documents.

WHAT'S NOT: Our main concern about the HL-1470N is its limited paper-handling capability. The basic system has a single 250-sheet tray (a second 250-sheet tray costs $199 extra), and the auxiliary path takes just one sheet at a time. Moreover, the auxiliary path lacks a paper support, so you must hand-feed it. Installing the driver is easily, but the process doesn't follow the instructions on Brother's set-up poster exactly --if you're not experienced enough to make a good guess, watch the videos included on the driver CD for details.

WHAT ELSE: The $500 price tag may seem excessive, but adding an ethernet interface substantially increases the cost of any printer. Brother's Reprint function--which lets you press a button on the printer to generate another copy of the last document that came through--could be convenient, but it's also a security risk--especially if your printer is on a network and you can't keep an eye on it. At 10.2 pages per minute (using its ethernet interface), the HL-1470N is plenty fast for a home user. Typically, ethernet slows most printers down by 1 to 2 ppm.

UPSHOT: The HL-1470N is a good choice for an ethernet-wired home or for a small office that wants to share a printer but doesn't plan to put a heavy load on it.

By Dan Littman