Brother MFC-7860DW - Performance and Verdict
Brother rates the MFC-7680DW at 26ppm and our tests got quite close to this. Although the five-page text document only produced 14.3ppm, when we ran the 20-page long text document, the speed rose to 21.1ppm. The five-page text and graphics test produced 11.5ppm and when printing duplex, the 20-page document printed on 10 pages gave 10.5 sides per minute.
A single-page copy from the flatbed took just 10s and a five-page copy from the ADF took 23s, both of which are impressive speeds for a small machine like this. A 15 x 10cm photo on A4 paper took a slick 16s, even at the machine's highest resolution.
The quality of prints from the machine is very good, with clear, sharp black text looking almost letterpress in its precision, even though the default resolution is a fairly standard 600dpi.
The print engine can go up to 2,400 x 600dpi, but when we tried this to print our photo sample, we still saw some banding and loss of detail. Greyscale graphics also look blotchy with noticeable banding, whereas a copy of a printed page with greyscale graphics was even blotchier.
Although the MFC-7860DW can print duplex, it doesn't have a duplex scanner, so it can't copy a double-sided original. It can produce a double-sided copy from a single-sided original, though, which is also useful.
The toner cartridges have yields of 1,200 and 2,600 pages, neither of which is that generous and even the higher yield consumable gives a cost per page of 3.3p, which is a higher than some of its competitors, including some with a lower price tag.
This type of multifunction printer is now a pretty mature product, so you wouldn't expect Brother to make any major errors in its design. You won't see any in the MFC-7860DW, which is a well made, quick and very functional piece of office equipment. It falls down a bit on the quality of copies with any greyscale content, but the main negative is its asking price, which appears high, given its feature set. Even allowing for duplex print, which isn't available in every multifunction printer, it’s hard to justify nearly £300.
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