Brother DCP-8085DN Review Inverness

Brother's surprisingly compact DCP-8085DN is designed for a small office or workgroup. Its price and its 1,200dpi maximum native resolution puts it in a similar category to HP's popular LaserJet M2727 MFP series, and although it lacks the HP's fax capabilities its quoted speed of 30ppm at a recommended maximum monthly duty cycle of up to 3,500 pages are superior to the HP.

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Brother DCP-8085DN Review

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Brother's surprisingly compact DCP-8085DN is designed for a small office or workgroup. Its price and its 1,200dpi maximum native resolution puts it in a similar category to HP's popular LaserJet M2727 MFP series, and although it lacks the HP's fax capabilities its quoted speed of 30ppm at a recommended maximum monthly duty cycle of up to 3,500 pages are superior to the HP. It’s also faster than Brother’s own HL-6050D, which we reviewed in 2008.

The DCP-8085DN has a 250 page paper tray and a specialist media tray that can handle stock of up to 163gsm, although it put a slight crease in some of our envelopes. Its paper capacity can be supplemented by the optional 500-sheet LT5300 tray, which is available for around £70. It comes with 64MB of RAM, which can be upgraded to a maximum of 576MB. Branded Brother 512MB SO DIMMs are hard to come by, although we've seen compatible modules on sale for a reasonable £55 inc VAT.

In the box, you’ll find Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista driver discs, which include Nuance's PaperPort 11 SE document management software and Brother's MFL-Pro Suite. Custom installation options enable you to specify your installation directory and add an optional BRScript PostScript 3 emulation driver, in addition to the default PCL3 driver. The installer searched our network and successfully located the MFP on our network and helpfully set our PC as one of the printer's default “scan to” locations for scanning. You can also set a security pin code to prevent unauthorised users from scanning content on to the target PC.

The MFP's simple built-in menus are displayed on a five-line mono LCD screen. Common options like duplexing, quality, and N-up printing are bound to dedicated buttons. The DCP-8085DN also supports PIN-code secured printing. This means that your document won't be printed until you use the printer's numeric keypad to enter the PIN code you specified in your print properties. This is an excellent feature if your office handles sensitive information.

Brother's web administration interface is far from pretty but it does the job. It replicates all the options available via the printer's menus. Its front page displays the same content as the LCD panel on the device, which is handy for remote troubleshooting. The default user name, “admin”, and password, “access”, can be easily found both on Brother's website and in the MFP's documentation. The interface was a slightly slow to respond at times and would benefit from a few annotations, particularly for slightly more complex tasks like setting up scan profiles, but there's little to really fault about it.

The default 600dpi and 1,200dpi print resolutions use the native print quality without any enhancement. There's also an HQ1200 setting, which is actually 600dpi with resolution enhancement that uses careful placement of toner to achieve smoother curves and the impression of a higher resolution. We were impressed by its speed and effectiveness. HQ1200 produced smoother, better looking prints of photographic images than the printer's native 1,200dpi setting and almost matched true 1,200dpi quality in our small font size test. HQ1200 graphical prints also took just two-thirds as long as true 1,200dpi prints.

We performed our standard text and illustrated business document tests at 600dpi and were impressed with both. Complex shaded graphics were perfectly graduated, and even thin lines tended to be smooth rather than jagged. Text at 8pt and above was sharply defined, although the printer struggled with our 6pt and under tests even at its highest resolution and these sizes looked a little spidery.

We didn't quite see the quoted 30ppm in our mono text print tests, but it achieved an average speed of just under 26ppm for text and close to 25ppm for our heavily illustrated greyscale document. 10 sides of duplex text printed in 53 seconds.

The DCP-8085DN has a 50-sheet duplex ADF scanner as well as an A4 flatbed. The easiest way to use either is by simply pressing the Scan button on the front of the device. The MFP can also scan to an FTP server or to a USB drive connected to its PictBridge port. You can scan to any PC on your network that you've installed the driver on. It lacks the convenience of some MFPs, which come with preset single-button shortcuts, but you can set up your own One Touch scan profiles and the on-board scanning interface is flexible and easy to use.

If you're scanning to a PC, you have to go through four menus and press the Start button before you can begin. You can scan the object on the platen or ADF as a file, to your default image editor, to an email or use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to scan the text of a document into your default text editor. The ADF can handle both simplex and duplex scanning. The scanner interface isn't as advanced as those from Canon and Epson, but it's much less annoying than even recent HP scanner interfaces. It can't auto-crop your scan area, but helpfully remains open between scans and proved sufficient for all our scanning tasks.

The scanner has a maximum resolution of 600 x 2,400dpi, but the driver's interface limits you to a selection of resolutions from a pull down menu, including 600 x 600 and 2,400 x 2,400, but not the scanner's actual maximum. Scan quality from the flatbed was excellent with sharp detail and consistent colour that produced accurate shading and natural-looking flesh tones. Our high resolution images were smooth and precise, without any graininess or significant banding. ADF scans were also excellent and displayed none of the rough banding we've seen from less well made devices. Our pages lined up correctly and were passed through the feeder without creasing or tearing.

Scan speeds weren't particularly fast except at low resolutions. While a 150dpi A4 flatbed scan took just 14 seconds, we had to wait 35 seconds for the same scan at 300dpi and 42 seconds for a 600dpi scan of a 6 x 4in photo. A 10-page colour simplex ADF scan at 300dpi took five minutes.

The DCP-8085DN is a capable office copier, although we had to set its brightness to maximum to ensure that graphics-heavy copies didn't look murky. The usual enlargement and reduction settings are present, with some pre-sets to make it easy to convert between common sizes. It defaults to single-sided copying but a duplex button and menu make it easy to switch modes and a duplex copy emerged in 32 seconds. A standard copy from the platen took 10 seconds and 10 single-sided sheets copied from the ADF emerged in just 29 seconds.

The DCP-8585DN is economical to run, with costs of just 1.2p per page if you buy Brother's 8,000 page high yield toner cartridges (TN-3280), which cost around £95. It comes with a 3,000 page standard yield cartridge (TN-3230) but there is an additional cost in the form of a 25,000 page drum unit (DR-3200), which can be replaced at a cost of £110. Including the cost of the drum, each page costs 1.6p.

Author: Kat Orphanides

Brother DCP-8085DN review: multi-function laser printer