Brother's DCP-7055 sits at the bottom of its multi-function laser printer range, offering scanning and copying features, alongside its monochrome printing capabilities. Priced at around £120, it isn't much more expensive than most simple laser printers, so just how well does it perform?
The DCP-7055 isn't really much to look at, despite Brother's attempts to soften its image with rounded corners. The grey colour scheme has a very corporate air.
The printer is narrow at the bottom, but gradually widens out to accommodate the flatbed scanner on the top. It's quite large too, measuring 405 by 398mm at the top, and standing 268mm tall, so you need a surprising amount of space to accommodate it.
The bottom of the printer is home to a 250-sheet paper tray, which will be sufficient for most home users. Above this, there's a single-sheet feeder that can be used for printing envelopes, labels and other items of an unusual size. All the printed materials get fed out into a paper tray that's largely embedded in the main body of the machine, underneath the control panel.
The control panel is reasonably comprehensive for a printer in this price bracket. It has a two-line LCD display, along with up and down buttons for moving though the menus. The menu system is basic, but it's relatively easy to find your way around and gives you control over most of the printer's core functions.
There are also some dedicated buttons for the scanning and copying features, as well as stop, print and cancel buttons. All in all, it's a fairly standard arrangement for a multi-function model.
The top of the DCP-7055 houses the A4 flatbed scanner. This has an optical resolution of 19,200dpi and a double-hinged lid so it can be used to scan thicker items, like books. The scanning quality is quite good, capturing strong colours and above-average levels of detail. Scans can look slightly too reddish compared to the original, though.
The scanner is fast when it comes to copying too. It managed to produce a black and white photocopy of our test sheet in just 12 seconds. The results were slightly mixed, however. Text looked sharp, but images and detail in areas of grey shading were a tad murky and imprecise.
As you might expect given its low price, this model lacks some of the features you'll find on higher-end options. It doesn't support duplex printing, so it can't automatically print on two sides of a sheet. It also lacks an automatic document feeder, so it won't automatically copy multi-page documents -- instead you have to manually place each sheet on the scanner's glass.
The DCP-7055 isn't the fastest model when it comes to printing, although its print speeds are still faster than those of most inkjet models. For example, the machine took 40 seconds to print our ten-page black and white text document and the same amount of time to produce our ten-page business presentation. When it came to graphics, it was only slightly slower, taking 42 seconds to print ten copies of our test sheet.
Print quality is a mixed bag. The DCP-7055 does a good job when dealing with text, producing dark and heavy characters that have good, clean edges. It's less successful when working with images and graphics. Nor is it good at differentiating between subtler shades of grey, and images tend to look blotchy and ill-defined.
The printer uses a separate toner cartridge and drum. The toner cartridge lasts for 1,000 sheets, while the drum is good for around 12,000. At current prices, the running cost works out at around 4.9p per page, including 0.7p for paper costs. That's not particularly cheap by laser printer standards.
The Brother DCP-7055 isn't a bad entry-level multi-function printer, but nor is it one of the better ones on the market. It produces good-quality text prints at a reasonable speed, but it's let down by its poor graphics performance and relatively high running costs.
Edited by Charles Kloet