Brother DCP-165C review
A reasonable price and a mixed performance, but it's not the best budget device we've seen
Review Date: 14 Aug 2009
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £51 (£59 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
While perhaps not the most stylish of devices, Brother's DCP-165C all-in-one at least makes setup simple. The tucked away USB socket and cable clip keep things nice and tidy, and the four separate front-loading ink cartridges come neatly packaged and are a breeze to install.
There isn't a great deal more to the DCP-165C itself, as this is very much a budget model. With just a one-line LCD, the menu system isn't intuitive. Separate buttons for the most common options - copy quality, quantity, enlargements - make life a little easier, but it's not a printer we'd recommend if you regularly need more than just the basic copy settings. There's also no print progress indicator, even in the driver.
Performance-wise, the Brother is pretty mixed. A seemingly impressive 15.4ppm draft print speed should be ignored as the prints are barely legible. At the much more acceptable normal quality that speed drops to a crawling 3.1ppm, while a 6 x 4in photo will have you waiting three minutes.
The quality, however, is better than you might expect at this price, and is almost up there with the budget Canon MP190. The separate inks play a part in this, even if they do make the DCP-165C fairly dear to run at 12p per A4 page.
The scanner isn't so hot, though, with off-colour images and some notable frayed edges in our text scans. This has a knock-on effect on copies, with pale photos and inaccurate colours combining with fuzzy text. That text also churns out slowly, taking a sluggish 30 seconds in draft mode.
So it manages some things quite well, including nice print text quality and decent photos, but others not so well - scanning and copying, ease of use. And that's the Brother DCP-165C in a nutshell: it's a simple, cheap device that's just not as good as the Canon MP190. And unfortunately, as that Canon is also cheaper both to buy and run, this all-in-one doesn't get our recommendation.
Author: David Bayon
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