Brother claims the DCP-7045N can print at up to 22ppm, but as usual, this appears optimistic. Our five-page text document took 22s and this was true of the text and graphics test, too. This gives a speed of 13.6ppm for both, but on a longer 20-page test the speed rose to 17.9ppm, still some way off the speed in the spec sheet, but a very serviceable throughput.
The printer doesn't have a draft mode as such, but there is a toner-save facility. This is no faster than normal mode print, but the quality of output is still good and worth using to save toner costs.
A single page copy from the flatbed took just 12s and the five-page one from the ADF still only took 39s. Finally, a 15 x 10cm photo on an A4 sheet completed in 13s.
The quality of text prints, which will probably make up the majority of work in most environments, is very good, with clean, precise text and no sign of any problem artefacts. Greyscale graphics are also very reasonable, with only slight variations in large areas of fill. We did notice a little banding, but nothing too bad.
The greyscale photo copy didn't fare as well, though, with some patchiness and missing tones in filled graphics. Our photographic test sample, at the highest resolution of 600 x 2,400dpi, was better than many and included some dark area detail and very little banding in areas of sky.
There are two consumables to consider, with the toner cartridge available in two yields and the drum unit good for several changes of toner. Using the best prices we could find, and the high-yield toner cartridge, gives an overall page cost of 2.8p. This is pretty much in the middle of the range for mono laser devices of this type, so you won't be going down an expensive route, if you opt to buy Brother.
A good, serviceable SOHO multifunction machine can be a real boon to a busy small office and the DCP-7045N is certainly one such device. It's reasonably quick, produces good quality print and fair copies, though greyscale copies can be patchy. It's not particularly expensive to run and by including network connection and PostScript emulation as standard parts of its feature set, should make it easy to fit into a wide variety of different environments. There are cheaper multifunctions available, but this machine still comes in at a reasonable price.