We’d be surprised if the workers at the Brother manufacturing plants ever have time for a tea break as the range continues to expand at a bewilderingly prolific rate. Having recently brought out a collection of A3 inkjet printers, the company has now released six more multifunction machines for A4 printing based on the same designs, from relatively basic devices to wireless, Ethernet and ADF models.
The DCP-365CN is near the bottom end of this set, with copy, scan and print capability for less than £80, which should be attractive to the economically minded home worker or micro business. Styled in subdued two-tone grey and cream, this is a compact All-in-One that measures a squat 390 x 365 x 150mm and yet weighs a sturdy 7.1kg.
The buttons on the control panel at the front are large, clearly labelled and self-explanatory, with menu functions displayed in a narrow, 16-character, 1-line LCD. Directly beneath is a USB 2.0 port for flash cards and a memory card slot that caters for the more common SD, xD-Picture Card and Memory Stick (but not CompactFlash). The pull-out in-tray at the bottom will hold a maximum of 100 sheets of A4 and the side panel to the right contains the four individual ink cartridges.
In keeping with this air of neatness and clever use of space, the ports for the USB and Ethernet leads that connect to the PC and router are tucked snugly underneath the scanner lid to minimise cable runs. While this is all commendable, there is an inherent problem in the design that will guarantee a fair degree of frustration when operating this All-in-One and it all hinges around the LCD.
For instance, if you wanted to print off some photos from an SD memory card, the LCD will tell you it’s connecting to the PC, then you’ll be asked to print off a contact sheet. We waited 11 minutes for the printer to produce a contact sheet list of around 180 photos and then had to input the number of the print we wanted to generate. This is the perennial problem of text-based LCD menus and completely negates the advantage of having flash card and memory slots, especially when only one of the six printers in this range possesses a 5-inch colour touchscreen.
Unfortunately, slow speeds are the curse of the DCP-365CN. The claimed 33ppm rate for black text never reached higher than 17ppm in Fast mode and a miserable 1.5ppm in Fine, in addition to the 20 seconds taken to warm up. A borderless A4 colour print in standard Photo mode took a lengthy 7 minutes 45 seconds, although a copy of the same print in Normal mode arrived in a much more respectable 1 minute 25 seconds. 10 x 15cm colour photos averaged 2 minutes 40 seconds in Normal mode and a further 15 seconds in Vivid, which is also slow for this class.
The saving grace is that the quality of the colour photos in particular is among the best we’ve seen from an inkjet, particularly when it comes to copies of A4 sized images: very authentic colours, crisp lines and only a touch paler than the originals. By contrast, the Vivid setting which is supposed to highlight saturation and make colours more intense, appeared paradoxically to make them darker.
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