Although rated at 24ppm, you're only likely to see this speed when printing long-run documents with little text. In typical business use, our five-page text document returned 15ppm and this rose to 19.1ppm on the 20-page job. The five-page black text and colour graphics document gave 11.5ppm. These speeds are relatively good, in comparison with other workgroup multifunctions in the same price bracket, and the duplex speed, which we measured at 13.2spm, is also well up with the competition.
A single page colour copy took 20 seconds and a five-page black text copy from the ADF less than twice as long, at 39 seconds. A 15 x 10cm photo print on an A4 sheet took a very respectable 17 seconds and a full-page A4 print from a USB drive finished in 32 seconds.
For its main target market, the quality of prints is good. Black text at the default 600dpi resolution is crisp and clean, with no signs of distracting artefacts. Toner save mode is also fine for internal documents and text is still very readable.
Colour graphics are bright and attention-grabbing, though this works against the machine when you try and print photos. These come through too bright and a reduced colour range is apparent, as is the lack of detail in darker areas of images.
There are slight signs of haloing with black text over solid colour and a colour copy showed some hue changes, when compared with the original.
Consumable prices for this new range of Brother printers appear to be dropping and we found lower prices across the board than when we reviewed the single-function printers. The new prices give costs per page of 3.2p for black and 12.7p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. These fall towards the lower end of the range for this type of machine, so you certainly shouldn't dismiss brother on TCO concerns.
This is a good offering in the workgroup, colour laser multifunction market and covers most of the bases effectively. Extra facilities, such as the large LCD display; twin-head duplex scanning and copying; the front panel USB print facility; and secure print protection, give it an edge over several of the marques that might first spring to mind. It could do with a larger print tray as standard, but other than that, there are few complaints.