We had to think serious thoughts, not to laugh at Brother’s ludicrous claims that this machine could print 33 black pages per minute and 27 colour ones. Even in Brother’s Fast mode, where prints are very pale, we only managed 8.57ppm and in normal print, our five-page test returned 2.68ppm.
The 20-page test normally bucks up the speed, though, and it did here…up to 2.93ppm. The five-page colour print recorded 2.08ppm, so not one result over a tenth of the speeds Brother quotes. When is this nonsense going to end? All printer makers ‘enhance’ the speeds of their slower machines, but Brother’s inkjet claims are probably further from what customers will see than any.
A colour copy took 42 seconds, which is reasonable for a machine costing around £80, but our 15 x 10cm photo took 2:39, which is sluggish and a similar print from an SD card took 3:05, which is exhausted sluggish.
When printing our test photo image, a 15 x 10cm landscape photo on a single A4 sheet, the DCP-375CW also repeatedly misfed the sheet of Brother’s own BP71 paper. The exclamation mark flashed and a message told us to remove the back panel and extricate the sheet of paper. This done, the message wouldn’t go away (we tried every button) and we had to unplug the machine to get it to forget the error condition.
We tried feeding the sheet singly and padding it with a few sheets of plain paper underneath, but still got the same error. Eventually we got it to feed another sheet of paper, from the same virgin pack, by laying half a dozen photo sheets in the tray. It shouldn’t be this fussy; most Brother all-in-ones aren’t.
The quality of text prints is reasonable; better than from a typical Epson or Lexmark inkjet, but not as good as from a Canon, HP or Kodak. Black text is a little under-inked and colours are a bit insipid, particularly on colour copies. Scans also tend to lighten colours in comparison with originals. Photo prints are better, with stronger colours and smooth gradations, but some shadow detail is lost.
The four ink cartridges are the only consumables and Brother helpfully provides a black twin pack and rainbow packs of three or four colours, all of them at discounted prices. Trouble is, these discounts are off the RRP and only appear to be available from Brother. The discounts on single cartridges from other sources are higher than those in the multi-packs so, as always, we used the cheapest prices we could find.
That gives a black page cost of 4.79p and a colour one of 12.31p. Both these figures are high; compare them with the £75, Canon PIXMA MX320, where equivalent pages cost 4.09p and 8.78p. Quite a bit less – particularly when producing colour – for better quality print.
The concept of a range of small-footprint all-in-ones to suit all needs is a good one but, as with Lexmark, Brother has taken its eye off the ball. The top factors in buying any printer are print quality, running costs and print speed. In the case of the DCP-375CW you’ll have to have to wait longer than you should for expensive, unimpressive prints.