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Most all-in-one printers working in normal mode manage between a third and a half of the headline speed quoted by the manufacturer. Since Brother quotes 27ppm for black and 22ppm for colour, we expected something like 10ppm for black and 8ppm for colour. In fact our five-page black text print took 1:40 to complete and the longer, 20-page test took 6:46, giving speeds of 3.00ppm and 2.96ppm.
To check whether this was the difference between normal and draft print modes, we repeated the five and-page document in draft mode, where it took 30 seconds (10ppm). Even taking off the 10 second processing time before start of print only gets the maximum speed up to 15ppm, way short of the claimed figure.
Printing five pages of black text and colour graphics took 2:03 (2.44ppm), though printing a single-page colour photocopy took 42 seconds, which is not too bad. Switching to photo prints, on Brother's glossy photo paper, a 15 x 10cm print took 1:37 from a PC, which is reasonable, though printing borderless photos took a lot longer, with photos from both PictBridge and a USB drive taking just over three minutes a piece.
Print quality is reasonable, without being as good as some of its competitors, even those in the same price range. Black text is slightly uneven, showing feathering in some places, while being under-inked in others. Colour graphics are generally fairly clean and areas of solid fill are pretty regular and with good registration of black text over colour.
A colour photocopy reproduced colours well, though text over colour showed quite a bit of ink-run. Scans from the flatbed into a PC produced better than average results, with less lightening of colours than we often see.
Photo prints, on Brother's own BP71 glossy photo paper, were good, with smooth gradations of colour in the sky and some shadow detail, as well as good foreground and bright light detail.
The four ink cartridges are available in just one capacity and a full set will cost you around £35. Given Brother's published page yields, this gives costs per page of 4.96p for black and 13.3p for colour, both including 0.7p paper cost. These are very high with, by comparison, the £47 Epson Stylus Office BX300F producing page costs of 2.73p and 6.97p from the same calculations.
You pay your money and you take your choice. With the Brother MFC-150C you get built-in fax, good quality photo prints and easy maintenance, but you pay heavily for the consumables and plain paper prints are only average. The biggest bugbear, though, is the speed of the machine. In the words of the song, ‘One day my prints will come'.
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