Photo prints are generally clear and smooth and with the printer’s relatively high resolution, the detail is fine and there’s little noticeable banding. Selecting the right print quality for a given document is not that easy with the MFC-620CN, though, as it confusingly has Photo and Best settings. When you directly compare photo prints using each of these settings, the differences are slight, with perhaps slightly more shadow detail in the print completed at Best quality.
However, given that a Best print takes seven minutes 21 seconds to complete, while a Photo print takes three minutes 06 seconds, there's very little reason for using Best. Over three minutes for a 5 x 3in print is a long time, compared with other multifunction machines.
A single text and graphics page took 46 seconds and our five-page text print took one minute 40 seconds, giving a speed of just 3ppm, a lot slower than the quoted 20ppm. When it comes to scanning, you can use either the flatbed or the ADF, but neither is particularly quick. It took us 47 seconds to copy a single colour-A4 page manually and it was just a second faster using the feeder.
Although this machine uses the same four ink cartridges as the MFC-410CN, reviewed earlier this year, the print costs have reduced because consumable prices have dropped in the intervening months. Colour cartridges are around £7 a throw, with the black cartridge coming in at £12. Although Brother quotes an own-brand glossy photo paper in the device’s manual, we could find no source for this on the Web and so quote PC World's PC Line paper, as before. This has dropped from 37p per sheet to 25p per sheet.
These changes give running costs of 3.13p per mono text page and 38.6p for a colour page at 20 per cent cover. Both these costs are high in comparison to some of the machines from HP and Epson.
The main advantage of the MFC-620CN is its truly all-in-one approach. To provide all the functions of this Brother machine in a device at this size is quite a feat. Having said that, it doesn't perform any of its tasks particularly well, taking a long time to scan and print and not producing particularly high-quality results. The aphorism ‘Jack of all trades...’ comes to mind.