Brother MFC-4600

By
Brother MFC-4600

As most of the devices we tested consisted of inkjet units, we were interested to see how the laser printer in the MFC-4600 stacked up. Relatively lacking in features, the MFC-4600 is geared toward productivity, performing well in our speed tests.

As most of the devices we tested consisted of inkjet units, we were interested to see how the laser printer in the MFC-4600 stacked up. Relatively lacking in features, the MFC-4600 is geared toward productivity, performing well in our speed tests. We tested print speed and scan, with print speed weighted higher in the overall score. Consistent with laser printers in general, the MFC-4600 was clearly the top performer in both plain text and heavy format tests.

Theres little else to say that will give the MFC-4600 the edge over the other units we tested. Features are sorely lacking, with no colour scanning, faxing or printing ability. Standard fax functions are accounted for with 130-page memory and 20-page feed, and can suitably fulfil most office requirements in this area. With peripherals switching more and more to USB compliance, or dual USB/parallel capability, the parallel port restriction can pose a further hazard to many users. While this doesnt necessarily interfere with its workhorse role, the price is a little too high to warrant such an absence of features compared to the competition.

We could not test colour printing; however, we were able to give a score based on contrast, text and dithering, producing a mixed bag of results. Laser printers handle text far better than inkjet printers and as a result, the MFC-4600 was far and away the top performer in this respect. The 4600s non-text based tests showed course dithering and horizontal and vertical banding, with only reasonable tonal gradation that never quite reached 100% black. Like printing, we could not perform colour tests, and were restricted to mono grey-scale scans. Scan results were also behind the pack, with a slightly washed out image and poor contrast.

As our results show, a laser printer without any colour functions, indicates a device that produces black-and-white text documents, and quickly. However, with a distinct lack of features and an expensive price, the MFC-4600 is a costly solution.

Brother MFC-4600
Verdict
A quick and sturdy workhorse that is unfortunately lacking in both quality and features.
Specs
$1049
• Brother: unknown
• Price: 1049 • Printing method: A4 mono laser • USB: No • Other I/O ports: Parallel • Document feeder size: 20 page • Extras: Fax
This review appeared in the November, 2001 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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