Brother DCP-B7500D multi-function laser printer and scanner

Brother DCP

It looks like a small office photocopier from 15 years ago, but it can do a lot more.

Its smooth, cream design is simple but effective, starting with the scanner lid which can lift up on extending hinges to allow for scanning and copying from books as well as single sheets.

It prints and copies only in black and white but can scan in colour.

The control panel is centred around a two-line by 16-character display, which is enough to show status information and menu choices.

There are 11 buttons – as it doesn’t include fax there’s no need for a number pad.

The buttons control jobs and menu navigation and were very easy to work out.

The main paper tray takes up to 250 sheets, which is good for a machine at this price, and there’s a single-feed slot for special paper, too. Printed pages feed to the top of the printer section, below the scanner.

There’s a flip-up paper stop at the front and a strange flip-up stop at the back, too, which had no obvious purpose.

The only computer connection is a USB socket at the back – there’s no front panel USB for attaching a camera, no memory card slot and no network connection.

Brother supplies a copy of Nuance Paperport with the machine, along with its own MFL-Pro program.

The two work well together and handle basic functions including document management and OCR.

Brother says the DCP-B7500D’s maximum speed is 20 pages per minute (ppm) and under test we saw 18ppm, which is both surprisingly close to the rated speed and a very commendable rate for a printer this cheap.

It also completed a single-page copy in just 14 seconds, faster than many more-expensive models.

The quality of prints was variable, however – it produced crisp, black text in normal mode which was fine for home and small office use.

The toner-save mode, which produces lighter text, will give you more pages from a cartridge, but with more dotty, jagged characters.

Graphics printing was fine for lines, but a bit blotchy when printing areas of grey.

It was even worse when photocopying greyscale material, though, where there’s little to differentiate between different greys, a fairly common problem with cheap copiers.

The greyscale problem is a function of the scanner, though on ordinary material, including color scans of photos, it did a reasonable job, scanning at quite high resolutions.

The printer uses a combined drum-and-toner cartridge, where a toner good for 1,000 pages plugs into a 12,000 page drum. At online prices, we calculated a cost per page of 4.4p, which is surprisingly high.

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