Brother also gives you the option to install a third-party imaging application called Paperport by ScanSoft. This program lets you edit photos in a file browsing set up similar to Apple's iPhoto, with basic photo-editing solutions for auto-enhancement, blemish erasing, and red-eye elimination. We played around with the software for a while and enjoyed its simplicity compared with iPhoto, although don't expect editing quality on par with Adobe suites; this is geared more for light users and amateur photographers with limited time and editing resources.
The MFC-3360C's crippling disadvantage is its lack of a dedicated flatbed scanner and copier. If you plan on scanning thick books, large documents, or anything other than single sheets of letter-size paper, you'll be much happier elsewhere. Note that the Canon Pixma MX330 does have a built-in scanning bay with a 50-sheet auto-document feeder for roughly the same price.
The MFC-3360C uses a four-cartridge system with individual tanks for black, cyan, magenta, and yellow that load into the front bay. Brother offers standard and high-yield cartridges on its Web site, but we'll use the high-capacity price points and page yields for a cost-per-page analysis: color cartridges cost $17 for 750 pages and a black cartridge costs $32 and will last approximately 900 pages according to Brother; this factors out to 2.2 cents per page of color and 3.5 cents for black. Those prices are a bit cheaper than the average cost to print.
We didn't think that a printer could work any slower than the Brother DC-165C, but we stand corrected. The MFC-3360C manages scores so slow that it's frustrating to even look at the numbers. Obviously the printer comes in last place compared with others in the same price range, but the MFC-3360C wins biggest loser by a landslide with one measly page of text per minute, most of which was spent preparing itself to receive the document from the computer. Remember, this printer doesn't have Wi-Fi, so we're talking a direct USB connection here. It performed equally poor in the rest of the benchmark speed tests, as indicated below.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed (PPM)||Photo speed (1 sheet)||Color graphics speed (PPM)||Text speed (PPM)|
The MFC-3360C redeems itself a bit in the output quality results, but it doesn't excuse the slow print speeds. It produced decent quality black text, even a bit sharper than the similarly priced Canon Pixma MX330, but still not nearly as sharp as the other photo inkjet devices in our Best 5 lists. The difference is clearest in the photo-quality tests. Photos printed off the Brother lose their pop and definition in finer lines and quick color transitions, lacking the even saturation we liked about the MX330. The photos and graphics are passable to the average consumer, but those with a keen eye for photography will immediately notice the fuzzy edges and spotty white blemishes that seem to infect every photo that comes out of this printer
Service and support
Brother backs the MFC-3360C with a one-year limited warranty that includes access to its phone support line 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. In addition to the hotline, Brother's online "Ask Us" program offers immediate e-mail replies for troubleshooting, and the company Web site provides more support by way of manuals, FAQs, service center locations, and software downloads.
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