Brothers HL-5250DN Printer Review

Mar 24
by Daniel

I was lured by the HL-5250DN low price and long feature list.
You are unlikely to find another printer with all the features of the 5250 at the low price of $200-250 USD.  If you can't get good prints, what's the point. 

I tried two 5250s.  The first one was really horrible at printing black, at maybe 65%.  It could not print black.  I contacted Brother support, but they had no idea, so they suggested getting another one. The next one printed black better, but only at maybe 85%.

I had to print a shipping label from one of the big shipping company web sites, I have done this before with my old printer with no problem.  When I printed the label on the 5250 the label was all blurry.  I tried many different settings: 600dpi, 1200dpi, cups, BR-Script, Half-tone lock on and off, changed density, upgraded firmware, upgraded drivers, toner save off, tried different paper.  Nothing helped.

Also, I printed a test page with vertical lines .25 inch wide and full length of the page.  There was horizontal banding in the black and grey vertical lines.  Not good!

On certain graphics, it would print a pattern in the graphic like a half-tone even though it was just a black graphic.  I have never had a printer do that.  I contacted Brother support again, and they still had no idea.
They again suggested getting another one that is newer because there was a fix for paper jamming.  The second one was built in DEC 2005. He said it does not fix your issue, but I could try it.  Did not sound too promising, so I returned the 5250.

Pros: Very fast (fast engine, fast processor, 32MB and 10/100 Enet), Duplex (although strange, because it sends the paper out and then pulls it back in), Light weight (nice, but at the same time, it's all plastic, that can't be good), Quiet, Very small, Connections (Ethernet 10/100, USB 2.0, and Parallel),

Cons: poor graphic printing, poor blacks, and horizontal banding. Almost all plastic (how long will it last?)

Almost the perfect printer, except one huge problem.  When comparing to my ten year old laserwriter, the brother does beat the laserwriter in speed and quietness, but the 5250 fails to come close in print quality. Do the features outweigh the print quality?

For me, all the features and low price could not overcome the poor print quality.  If I only printed small thin text, then it would be fine, but does anyone do that?  If you do, you could buy an even cheaper printer. 

I am not paid to review products and not employed by any company related to Brothers.


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