The cheapest MFD this month, Brother’s DCP-150C manages to offer a little more in the way of features for your money than its budget rivals.
A major plus at this price is the inclusion of a one-line LCD screen. It may not be as impressive as the full-colour LCDs of other units, but it makes a difference to overall usability: we were quickly comfortable with the Brother.
But it’s still a relatively barren device. Interfaces are limited to USB only, which hooks inside the main compartment so it can’t be ripped out if someone trips over it. There’s nothing so advanced as wireless printing or a duplex unit; you don’t even get a print progress indicator on screen during jobs.
You do get individual ink tanks, which go straight into a compartment on the front of the device, but the black cartridge in particular isn’t cheap for its capacity: running costs are around 19c per A4 page, although in our rundown test it produced a very impressive 218 colour 6 x 4in photos before the first individual tank ran dry.
In use it proved disappointing. Nothing proved slower overall, with the Brother propping up the table with 3.1ppm in mono, and 2.8ppm in colour. A 6 x 4in photo at best quality took a yawn-inducing three and a half minutes, and the paper output tray is so far inside the device that it’s awkward to see how the print is doing.
Then there’s the scanner, which is a little annoying in that it requires you to line up 6 x 4in photos in the middle of an edge rather than the corner like most platens. We couldn’t get the Brother to produce borderless photocopies, and copies in general were slow. By contrast, the scanner was quicker than most – it took just 27 seconds to capture a 6 x 4in photo at 600ppi and was similarly quick at higher resolutions.
Quality, though, remains average at best. Photos came out lifeless and dark, and the scanners of both Brothers were clearly the poorest of the group, totally misjudging the overall colour tone of our images. Such a poor scanner renders an all-in-one pretty useless, so we’d recommend spending a little more to ensure you get satisfactory results in all three areas of use, not just one.
This Review appeared in the November, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine