Many offices don’t need the extra cost and complication of colour, but do want the print quality and ease of use of laser print in a multifunction printer. Brother has several models on offer, but the DCP-7045N is a mid-range model at under £200.
This is a neat little machine, quite a bit smaller than run-of-the-mill photocopiers and helped by its light and dark grey livery, which doesn't shout. The 35-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) has an extending paper support in its front lip, but for most documents, you won't need to use this. The output paper stop is needed, though, or scanned documents end on the desk.
The control panel is a simple strip across the angled front panel of the machine. It has a 2-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display in the centre, which Brother uses well to display status messages and information. To the left are buttons to scan and cancel printing and to select copy options, while to the right are navigation buttons and large, coloured ones for job start and stop.
Below the control panel is the print output and this includes a rather flimsy foldout paper stop for prints and copies. A single sheet feed slot with a flip-down cover sits below this and at the bottom of the front panel is a 250-sheet main paper tray. There is no facility for an additional tray to be added under the machine.
At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet, the two data connections provided on the DCP-7045N.
The front panel folds down to install the drum and toner cartridge. This is a two-part consumable, where the drum lasts for 12,000 pages and the clip-on toner cartridges have capacities of 1,500 or 2,600 pages. The complete assembly slides into place very simply, making maintenance a doddle.
Brother supplies a surprisingly good suite of software with this machine, including a full version of Nuance PaperPort 11 for document housekeeping and OCR, as well as its own MFP-Pro set of scan and print applets. There are also emulated drivers for both PostScript Level 3 and PCL 6, which is unusual in a machine at this price. Installation is simple, though you do need to restart your computer to complete it. Support is provided for Windows and Mac OS X and there is a driver for Linux available for download.