Brother recently expanded a range of printers that’s already bursting at the seams, with a total of seven new colour laserjets, four of which are all-in-ones.
The DCP-9040CN on test here is effectively the entry-level model from this range, offering copying and scanning alongside colour laser printing. It’s a fairly bulky yet solidly built device aimed at SME and home office users, comes network-ready and has plenty of room to hold a good day’s worth of content, including a 250-sheet paper tray, a 150-sheet output tray and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder on top.
Since the entry-level nature of the DCP-9040 omits many of the more innovative features from Brother’s new range, its strengths come in the speed and quality of output, and ability to handle larger quantities. Otherwise the specifications are fairly standard, in fact a good summary of the printer’s attributes, both in terms of design and usability, is ‘basic but capable’.
The keypad layout on the front of the main panel gives you instant access to most of the main features if you don’t want to go through the software provided. Here you can control copy settings, including reducing or enlarging, select a scan destination and adjust all of the main properties of the printer. You can also adjust output quality, although this only involves choosing between text and photo.
If you choose to control the printer with the provided Controlcenter3 software you’ll find a similar set of options, although the print settings integrated into Windows’ applications allow for slightly more detailed fine-tuning. In addition to the standard control suite you’re also given Paperport 11, a powerful scanning and document organisation package.
Performance of the Brother printer, at least from a more traditional ‘office’ context, was very good. The build quality and design is such that all of your print jobs are managed well, with a range of trays and extensions designed to make batch processing of documents as tidy and automated as possible.
Print speeds were impressive for both text and colour photos, being close as damnit, at least on draft settings, to the 20ppm quoted. At 2,400 x 600dpi maximum resolution results were extremely crisp and clear, pretty much faultless in fact, and even when you dial things down you’ve really got to squint to notice any drop in quality.
Photos, unfortunately, didn’t turn out quite as well, although you’d be unlikely to want to print many on a device like this. Don’t expect colours to be particularly accurate or lines to be that sharp, although certainly in terms of visual aides, line drawings and graphs, the results would be more than suitable.
The DCP-9040CN is a solid all-round laserjet that’s well suited to an office environment. Its performance is impressive enough, but for the price it would have been nice to see a few bells and whistles such as wireless, double-sided printing and Pictbridge support, although the latter two features are available in higher-end models in this range.
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