The MFC-5460CN is not a quick machine. The ratings of 30ppm for black print and 25ppm for colour are ludicrously optimistic. Printing our standard five page text document took one minute 48 seconds, which translates to just 2.7ppm. The colour test took two minutes 15 seconds, an even slower 2.2ppm. While speed isn’t everything, particularly in a home office where documents tend to be smaller, you’re still likely to be waiting around for print jobs.
Print quality is only fair, with black text being over-inked. There’s a fair amount of ink-spread into the nap of the paper, which gives the text a slightly fuzzy appearance. With colour print it’s the opposite problem; there’s not enough going onto the paper, which leaves some of the white paper fibres showing through. Copies taken from the device’s scanner were lighter still and there was some bleed of black text over colour backgrounds, again making the text less distinct.
Photo print quality, however, is very good. Printed on Kodak photo paper, there’s very little visible stippling and no banding visible to the naked eye. Colours are natural and there’s good detail, though with some noise, in shadow areas.
Unusually, our review sample made squeaking noises while printing, as well as the usual clunks and thumps. While these aren’t particularly annoying, they do make the machine sound as if it’s awaiting a visit from Fred Dibnah with an oil can.
The only consumables are the four ink cartridges; the cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges are each rated at 400, five per cent pages, while the black cartridge claims to manage 500. There’s also a high-yield, black cartridge, rated at 950, five per cent pages.
Under test, we managed 416 pages from the standard yield black cartridge and an impressive 593 from the colour ones, giving page costs of 3.7p for black and 38p for colour on glossy photo paper, using the best cartridge prices we could find from UK Internet suppliers. These costs are competitive with other machines in the same market place, though you may be able to reduce the colour cost by finding cheaper photo paper – Brother’s own photo paper appears very hard to come by.
At the price we found the MFC-5460CN for, it represents good value for money. There aren’t many machines which offer full fax facilities and an auto document feeder, as well as the standard scan, copy, print and photo functions, for under £150. Print may be a bit slow, actually very slow, and print quality is below par, but maintenance is straightforward and for day to day work it could be all you need.