We purchased the Brother HL-L8360CDW so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Brother HL-L8360CDW is an office AirPrint printer that has the power and heft necessary to satisfy the needs of a workspace with a heavy print load. Any member of your team should be able to connect to and print from it with ease. It makes professional quality documents quickly and reliably and is an excellent workhorse, as long as you don’t need to scan or copy anything.
Design: Professional look for professional use
At a glance, it’s evident the Brother HL-L8360CDW is a heavy-duty printer. It’s a color laser printer of the sort you’d expect in a medium sized office—professionally designed, sturdy, and intuitive to use.
This wireless office printer measures 17.4 x 19.1 x 12.3 inches. While it’s not the biggest printer in the world, it definitely can’t share a desk with someone. It’s also not designed to sit on the floor, so you’ll need to place it somewhere elevated like a table, countertop, or pedestal. However, its wireless design makes finding a spot for it much easier.
There are two paper trays on this office printer. The bottom pull-out tray from which is draws paper holds 250 sheets. It’s one of the most intuitive components on this printer—any office worker should be able to refill it without issue.
If you pull down the hatch on the front panel, the second paper tray folds down, a front tray that holds up to 50 sheets of paper. When the panel is open the printer will draw paper from the front tray rather than the bottom, useful if you need to quickly put in some extra sheets for an underway print job. It’s also where you’ll put things for special print jobs, like envelopes. The output paper tray can hold up to 150 sheets of paper, more than enough to catch every even massive projects.
At 48.1 pounds, it’s a heavy machine. While one person may be able to move and adjust it, it probably should be a two-person operation. We found it awkward to carry and while nothing ever went wrong, we could tell that if you dropped this printer you could potentially hurt yourself badly.
There’s a lot of power behind the simplicity of this wireless printer’s 2.7-inch color touch screen. The menus are simple to navigate and there’s no confusion as to what’s going to happen. The home screen gives you immediate access to the printer’s functions and settings, as well as an at-a-glance view of your toner levels.
This L8360CDW also offers auto-duplexing (double-sided printing) and it works rather well. Though it doubles the print time, it cuts down on the cost of paper dramatically (and will score you some points with your supply manager).
This wireless printer is a heavy-duty machine. Brother lists its monthly duty cycle at 60,000 pages. This is more than enough to accommodate a small business or office spaces with high print volumes. This unit is definitely overkill for home offices, unless you’re an individual who does a copious amount of printing.
Brother has a couple of features to help keep unwanted users away from your printer. Chief among them is the integrated NFC card reader. This allows it to perform advanced security tasks such as authenticate user badges for in-person users and Active Directory for network users.
Almost every printer on the market today is compatible with both the Windows and macOS operating systems. While that’s fine for most, Linux users are often left with fewer choices. The Brother HL-L8360CDW was the only Linux-compatible AirPrint printer we tested.
Setup Process: As easy as it gets
The sheer size, weight, and functionality of this machine might be intimidating for people who have never set up a printer before, but of the group we tested it was the easiest model to get going.
The Quick Setup Guide walks you through the setup process step-by-step, but it’s simple enough that you can probably get through it by only looking at the pictures. It mainly consists of removing the packaging material, inserting paper, and connecting to the Wi-Fi network.
Installing the Brother HL-L8360CDW’s drivers was simple as well. You can install them directly from the included CD, or download them from the website listed in the Quick Setup Guide. Either way it takes about three minutes.
We were printing out our first test document within 20 minutes of cracking open the box. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of printers should be able to hook this one up with few to no problems.
Printing Quality: What you see on your screen is what you’ll get on the page
During our testing phase, we used the Brother HL-L8360CDW to print hundreds of pages of documents, including legal forms, ebooks, newsletters, calendars, and email.
The results were excellent across the board. Text was crisp and sharp no matter which font was used. Through all the pages we inspected, we never saw an example of a smudged word or smeared formatting. Graphics were smooth and well-defined, though we did notice some mild pixelation in some instances that took up more than a third of a page.
Photo Quality: Not a photographer’s best friend
Though it’s not its primary function, the Brother HL-L8360CDW can print photos. The photos we printed out on regular copy paper looked alright., though pictures that took up the whole letter-sized page looked a bit pixelated (not unexpected for an office laser printer).
If you want to use this as a photo printer, you do have the ability to load photo paper into the front tray and then print your image the way you would a normal document. During our testing phase, we printed out more than a dozen images on photo paper with the Brother HL-L8360CDW with uneven results.
Some of the pictures came out clear, with even, bright colors and sharp details. More often, however, pictures came out with noticeable pixelation, shallow color, and streaks that ruined the image. You may get two or three frameable photos out every ten you print out.
Speed: Quick results for black and white, color, text, and graphics
Brother claims the top printing speed of this machine is 33 pages per minute. To test that claim, we printed a 100-page text-only screenplay. It finished the task in three minutes and 41 seconds which doesn’t quite equal the advertised speed, but still worlds better than the inkjet AirPrint printers we tested that took twice or even three times longer to accomplish the same task.
We printed our test screenplay a second time, but with the duplexing feature turned on. The double-sided print took about seven and a half minutes to complete. While that’s a big time increase, it’s still much quicker than products like the Canon Pixima TS9120. That printer took 33 minutes to duplex print the same document.
We also used the Brother HL-L8360CDW’s to print a 99-page book with color-heavy graphics, each page of which is more than 90% color. It completed the task in 13 minutes and 15 seconds, roughly seven and a half pages per minute. However, when we printed more generic color documents like newsletters, calendars, resumes, and spreadsheets, it generally only took one to three seconds per page.
Connectivity Options: Wired or wireless…but mostly wireless
While you can set up and use this printer without ever making a physical connection to another machine, there are times when a wired connection is necessary or even mandated. The Brother HL-L8360CDW allows you to connect to a network via ethernet cable or USB, but you’ll have to get a cable from the IT department because one doesn’t come in the box.
Although the drivers for this printer are easy to find and install when you first set it up, you can actually skip it if you use Apple devices. The Brother HL-L8360CDW is AirPrint capable, which means that as soon as it’s connected to your Wi-Fi, any device running iOS or macOS on the same network will be able to detect and print to it immediately.
When we tested this printer, we installed the Brother printer drivers on one machine, but not for three others—for the rest we used AirPrint. We found no difference in the experience outside of setup. Whether we sent documents to this printer from the Pages application from an iPhone X, or a tax form from an iMac, this AirPrint Printer never failed to begin the process immediately after we clicked or tapped “print.”
Android users will get similar results with Google Cloud Print, which operates on roughly the same principle as AirPrint. Google apps like Chrome, GMail, and Docs can detect this printer if their device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the Brother HL-L8360CDW. Windows PCs can also take advantage of Google Cloud Print functionality by installing the Google Cloud Printer application.
One of the functions available from the printer’s control panel is Direct Print. This allows you to print documents and images directly from a USB flash drive. We hooked up a thumb-drive with more than 30 GB of documents on it, but when we scrolled through the contents, we found that only a small fraction of them could be printed. It turns out only PDF or JPG files can be printed through Direct Print. All of the documents and spreadsheets we had in Microsoft Word and Excel formats weren’t recognized or printable.
Price: Worth it if your office has a high print volume
Brother lists the price of this wireless office printer at $399, a decent price for the feature set and quality output the Brother HL-L8360CDW offers. While it certainly isn’t a budget model, it’s worth the price for an office with a high print volume.
Brother HL-L8360CDW vs. Brother MFCL3770CDW
While the printing capacities of the Brother HL-L8360CDW are great, it’s not an all-in-one model. There are no options for copying, faxing or scanning. If you want those options, you can find them in the Brother HL-L8360CDW’s similarly priced sister product, the Brother MFCL3770CDW. It’s a bit larger and heavier, but it comes equipped with a flatbed scanner and document feeder. However, you’ll trade a little speed for that functionality. Brother lists the MFCL3770CDW’s printing speed at 25 pages per minute.