Brother is currently the only manufacturer of inkjet all-in-ones capable of handling A3 as well as A4 paper. The larger paper size inevitably makes the DCP-6690CW a big machine, but Brother has done its best to keep the size down and offers some interesting extras, like a wide touchscreen interface, wireless connection and twin paper trays.
The machine looks like a medium-sized business photocopier, but with wider paper trays both for paper feed and the Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) on top. The high-gloss cover to the ADF folds open to provide paper support and scanned pages feed to the top of the scanner cover. The scanner flatbed is A3 size, so the machine has full A3 scan and copy facilities as well as A3 print.
The control panel is remarkably free of buttons, partly because this machine has no fax facilities, but mainly because of its widescreen, touch-sensitive LCD panel. The touchscreen is easy to use and positive to the touch, with a beeped response to each virtual button-press. Physical buttons are restricted to mode selection and starting and stopping copy jobs.
Along the top lip of the front panel are slots for memory cards, unusually including CompactFlash, and a socket for PictBridge and USB drives. This is a pretty comprehensive set and enables direct print and upload of images to a PC.
The two large paper trays in the front of the machine are both expandable. This means if you only occasionally print or copy A3 pages, you can leave the trays closed in their A4 position and save quite a bit of desk real estate. Both the trays and their covers are telescopic.
In Brother’s usual quaint way, the USB and Ethernet sockets are fitted deep inside the machine, so you have to hinge the scanner section up and reeve the cables round to reach them. This is awkward when setting up or moving the machine, so most people will probably choose the wireless connection.
It’s best to handle wireless setup as a two-stage process: start by running the Wizard from the touchscreen of the DCP-6690CW and get it to find the right network and connect by entering a passcode as necessary. You then run setup on the PC and install the drivers. Brother supplies a copy of Paperport 11SE as well as its own MFL-Pro scanning software. Drivers are provided for Windows and OS X and Linux drivers can be downloaded from the Brother Solutions Center.