Brother rates the printer at 20ppm and, surprise, surprise; this is not far off what we saw under test. Our 20-page black text document took 1min 7s to complete, which is a speed of 17.9ppm and a very healthy throughput for this class of printer. Shorter documents, where preparation time is a larger proportion of the overall print time, didn't do quite as well and here the highest speed we saw was 13ppm.
A single page copy completed in 14s and a 15 x 10cm photo on A4 paper took just 10s, both of which are very reasonable.
We do all our print speed tests with the printers in ready mode, not asleep, so there's a direct comparison, one with another. However, most printers spend over 90 per cent of their time in some form of sleep mode, using less energy.
For a laser printer, which relies on a heated fuser to stick the toner onto the paper, warm-up time can add significantly to overall print time, if print is only occasional. This Brother machine does pretty well, heating its fuser and starting to print within around 20s. Not all its rivals are as quick.
600dpi print quality for general text is clean and dense, everything you could need for day-to-day documentation. Even in toner-save mode, which is obviously lighter and a little jagged in places, text is adequate for most draft documents.
Greyscale graphics are not so good, with noticeable blotchiness in large areas of grey and a lack of definition between some grey shades. This is also true of our photographic test piece and although the detail is reasonable, this same blotched effect shows in areas of sky or other smooth textures. Our test photocopy of text with greyscale graphics is almost unusable, though, with several greyscales coming out black and obscuring the overlaid text. On this showing, we'd recommend only copying text documents.
Brother provides a starter toner cartridge of just 700 pages, but refills last for 1,000 pages and the drum, into which the toner cartridge clips, is good for 12,000 pages. Even so, we found few Internet suppliers for these consumables and the best price we could get gives a cost per page of 5.1p. This is higher than most other laser devices we've tested recently. It may drop as the consumables become more widely available, though.
The DCP-7055 is a neat, small multifunction printer for the SOHO market. It's easy-to-use and quick to print and produces good quality black text. If a good proportion of your print requirements are for greyscale copying, though, you will be disappointed with the output. Running costs are also high, though this may change in the medium-term.